Hundreds in Vancouver protest Hong Kong's extradition law
Hundreds rallied in front of Vancouver's Chinese Consulate in solidarity with those opposed to controversial legislation proposed in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong lawmakers plan to bring a bill forward that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China, where they could face "unfair" trials.
"We are not in Hong Kong, but we still really support them," protester Agnes Wong told CTV News.
Wong said she fears the new reality if the law passes. She referred to China's arrest of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and how they have been unjustly detained for six months.
Kovrig and Spavor's detention has largely been seen as a form of retaliation for Canada's arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the Vancouver International Airport in December.
"We are really, really worried about them because their family cannot visit them; they cannot have lawyers, it is not fair. This is why Hong Kong people are scared of Chinese policies," she said.
When Hong Kong was handed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997, it was guaranteed the right to retain its own social, legal and political systems under the so-called "one country, two systems" framework.
Protesters are concerned the system is being eroded, and they want to protect their freedoms and judicial system.
"Under the law, anyone in Hong Kong, not just Hong Kong residents, can be extradited," said Stephan Chan, a Hong Kong resident visiting Vancouver. "Without the sense of security and protection, I think the international city that Hong Kong has always been will be completely changed down the line."
In a statement, the Hong Kong government said it respects the protest.
"We acknowledge and respect that people have different views on a wide range of issues," the statement said. "The procession today is an example of Hong Kong people exercising their freedom of expression within their rights as enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Right Ordinance."
Chan said seeing the hundreds of thousands of protesters that have marched the Hong Kong streets and the similar rallies around the world, has been "uplifting."
"It is not because of hope that we come out, we come out in protest so we can have hope," he said.
Hong Kong's Legislative Council will table amendments to the bill on Wednesday.
With files from CTV Vancouver's David Molko