On April 3rd, stress broke out throughout Hong Kong in the People’s Republic of China. Change in legislation made tensions rise as protesters took to the streets, peaceful at first, then with force.
The bill suggested would, if applied, allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China and trialed there. Critics agree this would ruin Hong Kong’s freedom and allow China to silence political opponents and anyone China didn’t approve. BBC states that citizens feared of “unfair trials and violent treatment” particularly among journalists and activists.
The question may arise as to why this is an issue considering are under the rule of China already. According to Trip Savvy, Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 when it was handed back to Chinese rule, and its ties to China are not as cohesive as it may seem. Hong Kong maintained its own Parliament as a compromise between the two rulings functioning somewhat independently of both the British and People’s Republic.
“[Hong Kong] enjoys its own limited autonomy as defined by the Basic Law. The principle of “one country, two systems” allows for the coexistence of socialism and capitalism under “one country,” which is mainland China.
Hong Kong retains its own money, passport and immigration channels, and legal system, but the chain of command leads straight back to Beijing.”
The two territories do not view certain democratic rights, such as freedom of speech, under the same light, and now many have increasing fears as to increased limitations in freedom. As tensions rose, the Hong Kong citizens could no longer take it. On June 9, government headquarters were filled with protesters against the bill.
The next major rally was three days later; protesters once again rallied against the bill, but this time they were met with tear gas and rubber bullets.
June 15th Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong, stated the bill was indefinitely delayed, but protesters wanted more. The very next day, rallies hit the streets demanding for Lam to resign and for the bill to be completely cancelled.
More and more protests shook Hong Kong, most calm and peaceful. This continued throughout all of July, but once August came around things became dangerous.
Throughout all of August Hong Kong services were struggling; flights shut down and common services slowed to a standstill. Protests did seem to die down for a weekend only to start back up again.
Currently, protests have been evolving. Carrie Lam has cancelled the bill, but protests continue; they want more now.
Protesters want freedom for all arrested protesters, and an investigation into the cases of police brutality. They want peaceful assemblies to stop being labeled as riots and treated as such, but rather receive answers to questions and concerns addressed. The protests are still ongoing, and it seems they won’t stop anytime soon.