Britain calls on Hong Kong to pause extradition bill, maintain rights

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain urged the Hong Kong government to “pause and reflect” on an extradition bill that has sparked widespread protests, and said the former British colony must take steps to protect its rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy.

Hong Kong police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators who threw plastic bottles on Wednesday over an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

“I urge the Hong Kong government to listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

“It is essential that the authorities engage in meaningful dialogue and take steps to preserve Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy, which underpin its international reputation.”

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