Summary of Hong Kong Protests

The protests in Hong Kong started this year in June against the extradition law imposed by China. Protesters feared and became angry that this would coerce and oppress the rights of the fair judicial process and bring danger to dissidents.

In 1997, it gained independence from Britain, but then returned to China. Under the “one country, two systems” rule, it has more self-government and rights for the people.

The bill was dropped in September but the protests continue for full fledged democracy and investigation into police actions.

The law was introduced in April; it would impose “criminal suspects” to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances. Activists said this was risky and would expose Hong Kong people to unfair trials and abusive, violent treatment. They also insisted that it would give China even more influence over Hong Kong and used as a weapon against other protestors and journalists.

Hundreds of thousands of protestors showed up and Carrie Lam, the head of Hong Kong, suspended the bill. However, they still feared that it could be reinstated so the demonstrators continued to protest, calling for the bill to be withdrawn for good. By this time, the clashes between police and protestors were often and more violent. Then, the bill was stopped, but the protestors said it was too late.

On October 1st, China celebrated 70 years of the Communistic Party rule, while Hong Kong endured a violent, chaotic day. The escalation continued further. An  18-year-old was shot in the chest by police. The government banned face masks and in the beginning of November, a pro-Beijing lawmaker was stabbed by a man pretending to be a Hong Kong supporter. A week after that, a police shot another as protestors were setting up a roadblock and another was set on fire by others. Also, there was a standoff between the police and students at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University; the campus later held a local council election and the results showed that 17/18 councils were pro-democracy.

There are five demands of the Hong Kong protests:

-protests not to be labeled as riots

-amnesty for those arrested while protesting

-inquiry into police violence and wrongdoings

-application of universal voting rights

-withdrawal of extradition bill (already been met)

There is a strong support of protests for Hong Kong by rallies in the UK, France, US, Canada, and Australia. Most times, they were opposed by pro-Beijing supporters. The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, warns that by trying to separate, any attempt to divide China would end in “bodies smashed and bones ground to powder”.

Currently, Hong Kong’s status is being a former colony of Britain and now under China since 1997. It has its own government and legal system not connected to mainland China. Their rights include freedom of assembly and speech. But those freedoms, referred to as the “Basic Law,” expires in 2047 and no one is sure what would happen to Hong Kong after that.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-49317695

Image: www.politico.com

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