Security analyst calls Hong Kong protests 'front line of freedom'

Security analyst Gordon Chang said Friday that protests in Hong Kong over an extradition bill that would allow citizens to be extradited to mainland China for trials represents “the front line of freedom.”

“We need to be much more forthright in public, especially from the president about all of this because this is the front line of freedom,” Chang told Hill.TV.

“And clearly, China intends to take over Hong Kong — they’ll push as hard as they can,” he added. “But they will retreat when the international community and the people of Hong Kong signal that they are going to stand.”

Massive demonstrations broke out this week in Hong Kong over the government's controversial extradition bill. 

Hundreds of thousands of students and activists gathered around the local legislature on Wednesday as lawmakers appeared ready to approve the plan supported by Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam.

The standoff between police and demonstrators marked one the largest local protests in decades.

While proponents of the bill say the law was designed to protect Hong Kong from being a safe haven for fugitives, critics warn that the proposal would undermine the territory’s legal independence promised when Britain ended its colonial rule in 1997 and returned sovereignty to Beijing.

The international community, meanwhile, has largely stayed out of the dispute.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE said that he hopes “it works out for China and for Hong Kong," and Australia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for both sides to show restraint.

A vote on the extradition legislation is scheduled for June 20.

—Tess Bonn