Hong Kong Protests


Photo Credit: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Hong Kong police in formation containing the protesters.

David Flowney, Staff Writer

Hong Kong, also known as the pearl of the orient, is undergoing one of the biggest political uprises in years. 

The citizens of Hong Kong are standing together to oppose the increasing influence China has in their government. To understand the Hong Kong protests, it is first important to understand the past. Hong Kong was originally colonized by Britain in 1841. During this time, Britain and China were fighting. As a result of winning the conflict, Britain acquired Hong Kong as a province for 156 years. Then in 1997, Britain gave it to China, under one condition: the “same country, two systems” act. This detailed that Hong Kong would be part of China but would be a democracy instead of communist. The state of Hong Kong will be under Chinese “influence” until 2047 when the government will be a complete democracy.

In 2014, there were a series of sit-ins and protests named the “Umbrella Movement”. The goals of these protests were to grant genuine universal suffrage, the Abolition of functional constituencies of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying. These goals were not met however, and resulted in no reform and more political uprises.

“The fact that there has been little to no progress in this many years–it’s detrimental. This is an issue that can’t wait,” commented junior Molly Evans.

Photo Credit: ANTHONY KWAN
Protesters holding “Free Hong Kong, democracy Now” signs.

The reason for the protests, currently in Hong Kong, is for the abolition of increasing Chinese influence in elections, as well as the opposition towards the proposed extradition bill. The bill was proposed on March 29th of this year and has had major implications for the future of Hong Kong. The bill would allow extradition to Thailand and China. Extradition is similar to deporting someone to a place that they committed a crime for a trial in that location. Along with extradition, the main concern of the citizens is the Chinese government’s reputation for police brutality and cruelty. The citizens of Hong Kong are worried that if the extradition bill with China and Thailand is passed, their rights to free speech and freedom of expression would be finished.

 Citizens of Hong Kong are fighting back, however. They have been holding protests for 19 weeks straight, and they have become increasingly violent. It has grown so intense, that there was a live round fired by a police officer at a protester who was battling the tear gas and police for hours. The hollow point round narrowly missed his spine and heart while puncturing his lung. This is just another example of how tensions are growing between the citizens of Hong Kong and the police regime.

“I think that the situation is bad, the people of Hong Kong deserve freedom from China,” stated junior Cameron Rittner.

Overall, these protests are a big issue facing the citizens of Hong Kong. As the people of Hong Kong keep fighting against the government and their legislature, the world will remain watching intently.