The relationship between Hong Kong and China
Hong Kong belongs to China, but it Hong Kong has its own currency, political system and cultural identity. In fact, Hong Kong was never an independent country. Britain controlled the region as a British colony until 1997, when a 99-year lease expired.
The main reason for Hong Kong Protests is demand for democracy
China as the world knows does not allow its citizens many freedoms and has an iron fist control on its citizens. It’s now taking this over to Hong Kong. Over the past few months, the demonstrations have evolved from millions marching through the streets, to groups of protesters in hard hats storming government headquarters and shutting down the city’s international airport for two days. While the majority of protesters have been peaceful, frustration is building on all sides.
China is violating “Hong Kong Basic Law”?
Under the understanding with China, Hong Kong maintains a de-facto constitution, known as the Hong Kong Basic Law. It guarantees freedoms that are unavailable to Chinese mainlanders, such as the Right to protest, the Right to a free press and freedom of speech. One of the tenets in the Basic Law is that Hong Kong has the right to develop its own democracy, and previous Chinese officials pledged that the central government in Beijing wouldn’t interfere with that.
How China’s repression playbook backfired in Hong Kong
Beijing tried to repress Hong Kong the way it represses the mainland. It backfired. It may have been China’s biggest unforced error in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is close to the government in Beijing, tried to force through a draft bill that would have permitted China to extradite alleged criminals in Hong Kong for trial in mainland China.
What is the extradition bill?
The extradition bill which triggered the first protest was introduced in April. The extradition bill would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, under certain circumstances. Opponents said this risked exposing Hong Kongers to unfair trials and violent treatment.
Hong Kong Airport Protests is hitting its economy
The airport, which is one of the busiest in Asia, has emerged as a key protest target as anti-government demonstrators looked to take their message directly to the international community. 1,000s of flights have been affected by the protests. Companies have already reported “serious consequences from the disruption,” including lost revenue, disrupted supply chains and shelved investments, the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said last month. The airport contributes 5% to Hong Kong’s GDP. The protests at airport means it will cost Hong Kong tens of millions of dollars.
What is the government saying?
Officials in both Hong Kong and Beijing are increasingly critical of the protests. In a statement released, Hong Kong police denounced the “radical and violent acts by protestors” at the airport, and a government spokesperson described what happened at the airport as overstepping “the bottom line of a civilized society.” In China, coverage of the protests has shifted from censorship to focus on clashes and disorder, with protestors labelled; as “violent mobs” and “criminals.”
What are other countries saying?
US President Donald Trump called for calm on Twitter. He claimed that US intelligence showed “the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!” China already regularly maintains a troop presence near the Hong Kong border. Meanwhile, British MPs have expressed concern of the deteriorating situation.
What are the five demands of the protesters?
The protesters’ demands have changed throughout the weeks of demonstrations and they are now calling for:
• Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill
• Withdrawal of the “riot” description used about the protests
• Amnesty for all arrested protesters
• An independent inquiry into alleged police brutality
• Universal suffrage for the elections of the Chief Executive and Legislative Council, Hong Kong’s parliament.
Urgent action needed as Hong Kong’s political crisis continues to escalate
Hong Kong is now worrying the world. Most agree something must be done to ease tensions, while police must also take steps of their own to be seen to enforce the law without fear or favour so as to restore their reputation. It’s time for everyone to reflect on just how grave the city’s political crisis has become. The latest escalation goes well beyond mass marches, protests and violence. It has engulfed elements of Hong Kong’s social and economic stability completely.