Update July 9, 2019
A brief timeline of the developments surrounding the extradition amendments introduced by the Hong Kong SAR government, which triggered a series of mass demonstrations, including a march of an estimated two million people on June 16, 2019, the largest in Hong Kong’s history.
While on vacation in Taiwan, a Hong Kong man, Chan Tong-kai, 19, strangles his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing, 20, also from Hong Kong. Source.
After returning to Hong Kong, Chan Tong-kai is taken into custody by Hong Kong police for theft and money-laundering. During questioning, he admits to killing his girlfriend. Source.
The Security Bureau proposes amending the existing Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (FOO) and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance (MLAO) to allow ad hoc extraditions to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong does not have existing rendition arrangements, allowing extradition of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to mainland China, Macau, and Taiwan. Source.
The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), comprising dozens of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy groups, calls the first protest against the extradition amendments; thousands march to the government headquarters in Admiralty.
Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR government, submits the proposed amendments to the Legislative Council (LegCo), citing the murder case.
Various sectors, including the legal and business sectors, immediately voice their concerns over the proposed amendments. The Hong Kong Bar Association issues a set of Observations, listing its concerns.
Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee flies to Taiwan out of security concerns over the proposed extradition amendments. Lam was abducted from Hong Kong in October 2015 by mainland Chinese security forces. He was returned to Hong Kong in June 2016 after eight months’ detention in mainland China. Source.
In the second protest called by Civil Human Rights Front, more than 100,000 march to the LegCo.
Chan Tong-kai is sentenced to 29 months' imprisonment for money-laundering. With the 13 months he has already spent in custody since his arrest, and a possible one-third sentence reduction for good behavior, he may be released as early as October 2019. Source.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expresses concern that the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition amendments would “threaten Hong Kong’s rule of law.” Source.
The government, bypassing normal procedure, withdraws the bill from the Bills Committee and schedules a second reading in a full legislative session on June 12. Source.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam says LegCo needs to pass the extradition bill before summer. Source.
Under the direction of Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu, the House Committee, with a pro-Beijing majority, dismisses the Bills Committee.
Secretary for Security John Lee announces measures to limit the scope of extraditable crimes, including raising the threshold for extradition to crimes punishable by seven or more years of imprisonment. Source.
Widening concerns are expressed by various sectors in Hong Kong, including legal, academic, business, diplomatic, and press. Foreign governments and international bodies also raise their concerns. See a select list of those groups and bodies voicing their concerns and opposition here.
Taiwan authorities say they will not seek the extradition of Chan Tong-kai and will not accept extradition arrangements with Hong Kong.
Tuesday, June 4
Annual candlelight vigil to commemorate victims of the 1989 June Fourth massacre is attended by an estimated 180,000 people, in one of the largest crowds in years. Source.
Thursday, June 6
More than 3,000 lawyers clad in black stage a silent march from the Court of Final Appeal to the Central Government Offices to oppose the extradition bill. Source.
Sunday, June 9
Amid heavy police presence, an estimated 1 million Hong Kongers march from Victoria Park to the Legislative Council in Admiralty, to oppose the extradition bill. Crowd control measures included shutting down of some MTR stations and trains skipping stops near LegCo. Source.
Monday, June 10
Chief Executive Carrie Lam issues statement at 11 p.m. confirming that the second reading of the extradition bill in LegCo is set to commence on Wednesday, June 12.
Universities call for class-boycott starting Wednesday. Other sectors call for general strike on Wednesday.
Civil Human Rights Front, together with legislators and political parties, calls for rally to surround LegCo on Wednesday.
LegCo announces police will handle security for the LegCo complex on Wednesday.
Tuesday, June 11
LegCo Chairman Andrew Leung announces timetable for extradition bill consideration and voting: 66 hours for reading and debate to be concluded by 8 p.m., Thursday, June 20, to be followed by voting.
Civil Human Rights Front officially calls for rally starting at 11 a.m. on Wednesday around LegCo.
Various other forms of protest are announced for Wednesday, including strike by Social Workers Union, Artists’ Union, and Teachers’ Union; class-boycott by seven universities; and “drive slow” for Hong Kong Island Bus Service by the Bus Drivers’ Union.
Wednesday, June 12
In tears, Carrie Lam says in a TV interview that she has sacrificed a lot for Hong Kong and that she could not have “sold out Hong Kong,” but in the same interview refers to the protestors as spoiled children, saying “If my son was stubborn and I spoiled him and tolerated his stubborn behavior every time, I would just be going along with him.” (video)
LegCo announces delay of second reading of extradition bill.
Protests continue with thousands of demonstrators gathering in front of the LegCo complex in Admiralty. An estimated 5,000 riot policemen in heavy gear guard the LegCo building. In mid-afternoon, as protesters press toward the police phalanx, some throwing objects, including bricks, policemen fire tear gas, rubber bullets, and beanbag rounds at the protestors. Source.
Elsewhere, excessive police force against protesters and journalists is widely reported and documented in video footage. Incidences include:
News reports cite police use of tear gas on June 12 as greater than that used during the 79 days of the Occupy protest in 2014.
In the afternoon, Police Commissioner Stephen Lo declares clashes between protesters and police a “riot,” justifying the violent response, and calls on the protesters to go home. Source.
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority reports that 22 people were taken to public hospitals by Wednesday evening, but later reports that at least 72 people have been injured, two in serious condition. Source.
Civil Human Rights Front calls for rally on Sunday, June 16, and for schools and shops to strike on Monday, June 17.
Thursday, June 13
LegCo announces cancellation of second reading of extradition bill. No announcement on voting date. Source.
A canteen manager of Police Headquarters in Wanchai quits, paying back one month’s salary in lieu of advanced notice. His resignation letter reads: “I refuse to serve evils.” He later says in an interview: “It’s as if I am supplying [the policemen] with food and drinks that give them the strength go to out and beat up people—I can no longer accept this work.” Source.
Friday, June 14
Reuters reports that some Hong Kong tycoons are starting to move personal wealth offshore as fears rise over the extradition bill. Source.
Pro-establishment LegCo member Michael Tien calls for delay of extradition bill and says in a radio interview that the conflict between the police and demonstrators has forced a rethink of the government’s plan. Source.
6,000 mothers dressed in black stage a sit-in in Charter Garden holding signs saying “Don’t shoot our children.” A petition with 44,000 signatures objects to Lam’s claim of acting like a “good mother.” Source.
The Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Yucheng summons the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Robert Forden, to complain about Washington’s comment about the extradition bill. A statement by the Foreign Ministry says: “China called on the United States . . . to immediately stop all interference in Hong Kong’s affairs and stop taking action that would affect the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.” Source.
Carrie Lam meets with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng in Shenzhen to review the situation. Source.
Saturday, June 15
In a speech, Carrie Lam announces suspension of “current legislative exercise” on extradition bill, but not its withdrawal, arguing that withdrawing the bill would mean that it is groundless. Lam expresses “sorrow and regret” that she failed to convince the public that the bill was needed. Source.
In official statements, the mainland Chinese government says that it supports Lam’s decision to suspend the bill. Source.
The shelving of the bill does not appear to quell public anger. Claudia Mo, a democratic lawmaker, says, “Postponement is temporary. It’s just delaying the pain.” Source.
Hunger striker Minnie Li, a Shanghai born activist and lecturer at the Education University of Hong Kong, is hospitalized for fever and low blood sugar. Source.
A 35-year old protester, after hanging a banner from a Pacific Place building in the Admiralty district calling for the withdrawal of the extradition bill, falls to his death. Police declare it a suicide. Source.
Sunday, June 16
In the largest march in Hong Kong’s history, an estimated 2 million people—roughly one in four Hong Kongers—march from Victoria Park to the Legislative Council in Admiralty in continued protest against the extradition bill. The greatest concentration of protesters is in Admiralty, Harcourt Road, Hennessey Road, Causeway Bay, and Wan Chai. Most of the marchers wear black, to commemorate the protester who fell to his death the day before. Source.
Demands reflected in chants and placards include:
Protesters make way for ambulances in a dramatic scene. (Video)
In a written statement, Chief Executive Carrie Lam:
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong is released from prison after serving one month of a two-month prison term for contempt of court related to the 2014 Umbrella Movement. He joins the protests and calls for the resignation of Carrie Lam. Source.
Monday, June 17
The Hong Kong police reverses its earlier characterization of the June 12 clashes between protesters and the police as a “riot.” Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung says that only those who threw bricks and wielded metal poles against officers outside of LegCo would be accused of violating anti-rioting laws. “Others who have participated in the same public order event but have not engaged in any violent act need not to worry in committing rioting offences,” Lo says. Source.
Following the June 13 arrest of two protesters at Queen Elizabeth Hospital after they received treatment for injuries sustained on June 12, Pierre Chan, the medical sector LegCo member, states he has proof that the Hospital Authority allows police unhindered access to its system to get information on injured protesters. The Authority denies providing information of patients from the June 12 protests to the police. Source.
Tuesday, June 18
Chief Executive Carrie Lam apologizes in second press conference saying she “personally has to shoulder much of the responsibility,” but refuses to resign. Source.
In a joint declaration, protesters put forth four demands and set a deadline of 5 p.m. on June 20, for Carrie Lam to respond:
Wednesday, June 19
In a speech at LegCo, Secretary for Security John Lee apologizes for “causing social disputes and anxiety” but defends police’s use of tear gas and pepper spray against protesters on June 12 when dozens of people were injured and 32 people were arrested. He is criticized by pro-democracy lawmakers, including Charles Mok, who says, “Everything you have said today is polarizing the people. . . . You are the one that’s heating things up right now.” Source.
Thursday, June 20
Six student unions plan escalation-of-protest actions if the government does not respond to their demands by 5 p.m. They are student unions of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Science and Technology, Education University, City University, Academy for Performing Arts, Hang Seng University and the Federation of Students. The deadline set by protesters is ignored. Source.
Friday, June 21
Thousands of protesters stage a sit-in outside the LegCo building, block lanes of Harcourt Road, and barricade the entrance to the Police Headquarters. One protest sign on the outside wall of the Police Headquarters reads: “We will never submit.” Source.
Saturday, June 22
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice Theresa Cheng rejects protesters’ demands to not charge people who took part in the protests on June 12, saying that any charges pressed by the Department of Justice are “based on the law, relevant facts and (our) prosecution rules.” Source.
Sunday, June 23
Civil Human Rights Front organizes a rally outside LegCo demanding accountability of police for abuse of power, with a focus on disproportionate violence against protestors.
In a joint letter, 32 former government officials and politicians, including Anson Chan and Martin Lee, appeal to Carrie Lam to:
Starry Lee, chairwoman of the pro-establishment party in LegCo, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), says the party “would not oppose” a full withdrawal of the extradition bill. Source.
Monday, June 24
Over 100 protestors gather outside and in the foyer of the Revenue Tower in Wan Chai, blocking entry into the building but allowing some employees to leave, in another wave of civil disobedience action. Source.
In her oral update at the 1st Meeting of the 41st Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, commends the decision of the Hong Kong authorities to delay passage of the extradition bill, “in response to the massive display of civic activism by a large proportion of the population,” but “encourage[s] the authorities to consult broadly before passing or amending this, or any other, legislation.” Source.
Wednesday, June 26
In advance of the G20 summit in Osaka (June 28-29) where China has said it “will not allow” discussion of Hong Kong’s extradition bill, protesters delivered a petition to 16 foreign consulates to urge them to “Back HK up at G20 Summit by Supporting: 1) Full Withdrawal of Extradition Bill, 2) Establishment of Investigation Committee on Police Brutality.” 1,500 protestors march to the U.S. and British consulates and EU’s representative office to deliver the petition; the protestors then split into three groups to go to the following consulates: Germany, South Korea, Argentina, Japan, Australia, Austria, Mexico, France, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, and India. The last three consulates in this list did not accept the petition. Source 1. Source 2.
Thursday, June 27
Nine members of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the German parliament issue a statement to support Hong Kong’s people and urge German Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring up Hong Kong's autonomy at the G20 Osaka Summit. Excerpts from "The autonomy of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region cannot be compromised” (Die Autonomie der Sonderverwaltungszone Hongkong ist nicht verhandelbar):
“As members of the Human Rights Committee of the German Bundestag, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the demonstrators in Hong Kong who share our values of civil liberty, democracy and the rule of law. . . . We appeal to the Hong Kong Government not only to suspend the controversial legislative changes, but to formally withdraw [the bill] . . . . We urge German Chancellor Angela Merkel to stress in an upcoming discussion with Xi Jinping at the G20 summit that the autonomy of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must not be compromised and that the principle of "one country, two systems" must be fully respected.”
On eve of the G20 Osaka Summit, dozens demonstrate in downtown Osaka in solidarity with Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protest. Source.
Friday, June 28
On June 27 and 28, crowdfunded full-page ads headlined “Stand With Hong Kong at G20” are published in 17 newspapers in at least 12 different countries, including the New York Times (U.S. and international), Guardian (U.K.), Asahi Shimbun (Japan), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Chosun Ilbo (South Korea), and Apple Daily (Taiwan).
Saturday, June 29
A 21-year-old student, Lo Hiu-yan, jumps to her death from a building in Ka Fuk Estate in Fanling. She leaves a message to fellow protesters written in red ink on a wall in which she reiterates the protesters’ demands and urges the protesters to persevere. Source.
The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) secretariat issues an open letter to Carrie Lam, urging her to respond to the protesters’ demands. Source.
G20 ad-campaign officially concludes with 20 newspapers running ads. Source.
Sunday, June 30
A pro-police rally is held in Tamar Park with between 53,000 (police estimate) and 165,000 (organizers estimate) people participating. Legislator Lam Cheuk Ting (Democratic Party) is attacked and beaten by police supporters attending the rally. Reporters and journalists covering the rally are reportedly assaulted. Source.
Pro-police protesters tear down signs, banners, and post-it notes at the Lennon Wall. Some also tear down the memorial for Marco Leung, the protester who fell to his death on June 15. Source.
A 29-year-old woman, Zhita Wu, jumps from a walkway of the IFC building in Central onto Man Cheung Street at 3 p.m. She is pronounced dead at 9 p.m. Wu left a message on her social media account supporting the protesters. Source.
Commemorative activities are held at the two sites of the suicide deaths, and the makeshift memorial at the Lennon Wall is reestablished.
Monday, July 1
In her first public appearance since June 18, Carrie Lam delivers remarks at a ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China and acknowledges: “What happened in recent months has caused dilemmas and divides between the government and citizens. It has made me understand that as a politician, I must remind myself I have to accurately get the pulse of the society. I have learned that even with good intentions, I have to be open and inclusive.” Source.
The annual flag-raising ceremony is moved indoors to the Wanchai Exhibition Center. Guests watch a live broadcast of the flag raising outside in Bauhinia Square. Source.
Protesters occupy the roads around LegCo before dawn, raising a black flag in place of the PRC flag, and lowering the Hong Kong flag to half-mast to commemorate those lost. Outside LegCo, riot police use pepper spray and batons against protesters. Several protestors are injured and 13 police officers are sent to the hospital after being splashed with an unidentified liquid. Source.
In the early afternoon at LegCo, protestors use metal trollies and metal bars to ram a glass panel next to the legislators’ entrance. Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong, other opposition legislators, and other protestors attempt to persuade these protestors to cease the ramming. Pan-democratic legislator Leung Yiu-chung is tackled to the ground while trying to stop protesters from breaking into LegCo. Source.
The police try to persuade the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) to postpone or reroute the annual July 1 march, and official permission is withdrawn for Admiralty to be the march destination. CHRF refuses to postpone the march, and it begins in the early afternoon from Causeway Bay toward Central, a contingent destination in light of activities at LegCo. Source. Organizers say 550,000 take part in the march, and the police put the figure at 190,000. Source.
At 6:26 p.m., LegCo issues a red security alert for the first time in history, and the building is evacuated. Shortly after, the government issues a statement saying it “strongly condemns and deeply regrets the extremely violent acts committed by some protesters, ” and that “the police will take appropriate enforcement action to protect public order and safety.” Source.
After a long standoff, the police retreat from their posts guarding the entrance to the LegCo building. After smashing through the glass door, hundreds of protesters rush into building at around 9 p.m. The police appear to have evacuated the building. Once inside, a small group of protestors spray paint the walls with graffiti, including messages such as “Carrie Lam step down,” “The government forced us to revolt,” “It was you who taught us that peaceful protest is useless,” “There are no rioters, only tyranny,” and “Oppose Chinese colonialism.” Pictures of Legislative Council President Andrew Leung and former president Rita Fan are defaced, the Hong Kong official emblem is partially covered in black paint, and a British colonial flag is draped over the podium of the LegCo president. A protester destroys a copy of the Basic Law. Source & Source. However, protesters protect items of historic value, books, and personal property in the building. Source.
At around 10 p.m., the police release a video on Facebook announcing a deadline of midnight for the protestors to leave the building. Source. Protesters on-site and within LegCo begin discussions on whether to stay or withdraw.
Just before midnight, a few protestors read a declaration addressed to Hong Kong citizens explaining the decision to enter LegCo: “Since June, Hong Kongers have protested numerous times, including a march of 2 million, urging the government to withdraw the bill. The government refused to listen to the people. . . . The current Hong Kong government is no longer what the Hong Kong people are wishing for. . . . We hope Hong Kong can unite against the vicious laws and the suppressive regime, and safeguard Hong Kong together.” Source. The protesters move out of the LegCo building chanting “We leave together!”
Tuesday, July 2
Shortly after midnight, riot police enter the building. No protesters remain inside. Outside, protestors retreat from a baton charge by riot police. Source. Police begin firing rounds of tear gas, forcing the remaining protesters out of the Admiralty area. The police clear roadblocks and continue to fire tear gas at retreating protesters, who throw bricks, eggs, and umbrellas. By 1 a.m., all the protesters have left the area around LegCo. Source.
The police stop and search passengers of minibuses and cars leaving Central, searching the belongings of those wearing black, requiring them to remove their masks, and videotaping their faces. Source.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung, Secretary for Security John Lee, and Police Chief Stephen Lo hold a press conference at 4 a.m. Lam condemns “extreme violence” by protesters, saying, “I can say here, whether it’s pan-democratic lawmakers or groups of young people, in future days, I am very willing to communicate about the matters they care about.” Source. Asked why she would not meet with pro-democracy legislators earlier, she replied, “With this level of violence . . . I’m sure the public will understand that going to the scene for dialogue was of no help.” Reporters question her lack of response to the three suicides, but she gives no specific response. Source. The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) question why questions related to the suicides were deleted from the official transcript of the press meeting. Source.
Independent Police Complaints Commission confirms receipt of over 100 complaints relating to anti-extradition protests since early June and that it will begin investigation. Chairperson Anthony Neoh clarifies that any information or potential evidence of criminal conduct, including that of protestors, will be handed to police. Source.
Wednesday, July 3
A 28-year-old woman, surnamed Mak, jumps to her death at her residence in Cheung Sha Wan, leaving a suicide note in support of the anti-extradition protests. This marks the fourth suicide related to the protests. Despite concerns about "copycats," her family members and close friends agree to share her message with media, and state that it is the government’s responsibility to put a stop to the young people’s despair. Source 1, source 2.
Arrests of protesters begin. Twelve are arrested for activities at the LegCo area on July 1 (unrelated to the break-in), the youngest of them aged 14. Eight more are arrested for "cyberbullying" police officers and releasing police officers' personal information online. Source 1, Source 2.
Thursday, July 4
Carrie Lam and Executive Council members reach out in secret to the student unions of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Chinese University of Hong Kong, inviting student leaders to attend a closed-door meeting. The student unions decline the invitations. In a joint press conference, student unions of all universities criticize the invitation as a "publicity stunt" and demand two conditions for any meeting to take place: 1) exoneration of all protesters facing charges and 2) that any meeting be in public. Source 1, Source 2.
Pastor Lau Chi-Hung and fellow activists commence a 50-hour hunger strike outside government offices in Admiralty in support of protesters. Source.
Friday, July 5
More than 800 Hong Kong mothers attend a rally at Edinburgh Place in support of young protesters, reiterating that their children are not rioters, urging the government to respect human lives, and calling on fellow Hong Kong citizens to support the movement. Source.
Sunday, July 7
More than 230,000 march in Kowloon, aimed at spreading messages of the anti-extradition movement to mainland Chinese tourists arriving in the Tsim Sha Tsui area as well as the High-Speed Rail station near Austin. Source.
Afterwards, protesters march along Nathan Road from Tsim Sha Tsui to Mong Kok, occupying the streets and stopping traffic. Legislators on site attempt to negotiate as protesters are trapped by barricades set up by police, which impede joining the procession as well as leaving the march (to comply with police demand to evacuate the area). When protesters attempt to slowly and gradually retreat, they are violently dispersed by police officers, equipped with shields, batons, and pepper spray who target protesters, journalists, and passers-by.
Live-streams and reports show that identification numbers on police officers’ badges are covered up. The Hong Kong Journalists Association criticizes the police for assaulting journalists on-site and causing undue obstruction to press activities. Six are arrested over the clashes. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3.