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Flames from a molotov cocktail burn in front of barricades during a protest against a proposed extradition law in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Protesters flooding downtown Hong Kong to stop the government's proposed extradition law effectively presented the city's leaders with an ultimatum: back down, or risk violent clashes that could be worse than the Occupy movement in 2014. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg Flames from a molotov cocktail burn in front of barricades during a protest against a proposed extradition law in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

A controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong that prompted tens of thousands of people in the city to take to the streets also prompted Hong Kong’s Bar Association and Law Society to issue strong statements of concern. But global law firms in Hong Kong have largely remained silent.

The Hong Kong government is trying to amend an extradition law that would allow the city’s authorities to send alleged criminals in Hong Kong to China. Political crimes are not included in the list of crimes that would allow for extradition, but critics fear the new law would also target political activists. They worry that under the new law, anyone in Hong Kong could be picked up and put on trial in China, which has a different legal standard and where judges must answer to the Communist Party.

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John Kang, The Asian Lawyer

John Kang covers the business of law in Asia and Australia from Hong Kong. Email him at [email protected]

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