Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the Legislative Council demonstration area on Wednesday to protest a controversial copyright bill. The debate on the bill was delayed once again by pan-democrats until Thursday morning.

The controversial bill has faced major opposition from local netizens who worry that using copyrighted works—even if just for personal use and not for profit—could lead to a criminal investigation. Opponents to the bill have also raised concerns that new amendments could make it an offence to live stream game-playing and to screen-cap television programmes or movies.

The pan-democrats requested the quorum bell more than 20 times during Wednesday’s meeting, preventing the start of the debate. Lawmakers may request the bell in order to ensure enough lawmakers are present. The meeting was adjourned at 8pm.

The protest at LegCo
The protest at LegCo. Photo: HKFP.

Half an hour before the meeting was adjourned, lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man said that the “major battle” would be at a meeting on January 20, after the policy address by a Chief Executive scheduled for the week before.

He added that it would be troublesome for the government were the bill not passed in January, as the annual budget would be sent to the LegCo for review in February.

Raymond Wong.
Raymond Wong. Photo: HKFP.

Internet freedom advocacy group Keyboard Frontline urged the public to join the rally.

Democratic Party lawmakers Emily Lau Wai-hing and Helena Wong Pik-wan also came to the demonstration area to address protesters.

Emily Lau. Photo: HKFP.
Emily Lau (left) . Photo: HKFP.

However, they were jeered at by protesters, chanting “Democratic Party betrays Hong Kong” as their party did not join the LegCo filibuster.

They pair were surrounded by protesters along the way back into LegCo.

A protester chanting at Emily Lau. Photo: HKFP.
A protester chanting at Emily Lau. Photo: HKFP.

Dozens of police officers were patrolling and standing guard around the rally. Many demonstrators were searched by the officers.

Lawmaker Ray Chan Chi-chuen said that the meeting on Thursday morning would be a “danger timezone” for pro-Beijing camp lawmakers as they do not usually show up early.

He urged pan-democrats not to enter the chamber and allow the meeting to be adjourned. Chan added that lawmakers Albert Chan Wai-yip and Cyd Ho Sau-lan have told him they would move an adjournment of the debate motion at the beginning of the meeting, after the chairman of the committee of the bill has spoken.

Lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung urged protesters to ask people around the world to send emails to the government in protest.

Leung Kwok-hung. Photo: HKFP.
Leung Kwok-hung. Photo: HKFP.

Civil groups such as Scholarism, Youngspiration and Frontline Tech Workers have also spoken against the bill.

Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong with a props showing he was "jailed" by the new copyright bill. Photo: HKFP.
Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong with a props showing he was “jailed” by the new copyright bill. Photo: HKFP.

Baggio Leung Chung-hang, convenor of Youngspiration, said that lawmakers who support the bill will pay the price in upcoming elections.

Baggio Leung (with mic). Photo: HKFP.
Baggio Leung (with mic). Photo: HKFP.

Jimmy Wong Yuen-ho of Frontline Tech Workers said that the amendments proposed by the pan-democrats must pass in order to protect non-profit derivative works.

Jimmy Wong. Photo: HKFP.
Jimmy Wong. Photo: HKFP.

The meeting will resume at 9am on Thursday, until 8pm. If it is still not finished, it will resume on Friday morning, until 1pm.

See also: Explainer: What is legal and what is not under Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.