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What Caused the Ongoing Protests in Hong Kong to Begin?

Protests in Hong Kong
Taken from Instagram: @cityusu.edb

Protests in Hong Kong began in June 2019 against proposals to allow extradition to mainland China. The extradition bill which gave rise to the first protest was presented in April. It would have taken into consideration criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China, in specific situations.

Opponents said this has a risk of exposing Hong Kongers to rough treatment. They additionally contended the bill would give China an increasingly more noteworthy impact over Hong Kong. It could be utilized to target activists and columnists.

A huge number of individuals rampaged. Following a few weeks of dissents, leader Carrie Lam said the bill would be suspended for an indefinite period of time until it expired.

The background story:

On Feb 8, 2018, a couple, Chan Tong Kai and Poon Hiu-Wing went to Taiwan from their house in Hong Kong. They were on a vacation and stayed in a hotel in Taipei for nine days. But unfortunately, on 17th February, only one of them returned home.

After about a month, Chan admitted to killing his pregnant girlfriend. Now, Hong Kong authorities couldn’t charge him for murder because it happened in Taiwan. They couldn’t send him back either. The reason for this is because they did not have an extradition agreement.

In 2019, the Hong Kong government proposed the extradition bill. The bill allows them to send back the suspects back to Taiwan for a trial. But this bill also allows extradition to mainland China.

Eventually, people came out of their houses to protest.

China and Hong Kong have a complicated political relationship. The Extradition bill threatens to give China more power over Hong Kong! Technically, Hong Kong is a part of China. It is a semi-autonomous region. Hong Kong remained a British colony until 1997 when Britain returned it to China under an agreement called “One country, two systems”.

What is One country, two systems and how is it affecting Hong Kong?

According to Wikipedia, “One country, two systems” is a constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping during the early 1980s. He suggested that there would be only one China, but distinct Chinese regions such as Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic and administrative systems, while the rest of the PRC (or simply “China”) uses the socialism with Chinese characteristics system. Under the principle, each of the two regions could continue to have its own governmental system, legal, economic and financial affairs, including trade relations with foreign countries.

What are these protests for?

The protests have regularly swelled into brutal conflicts.

By then conflicts among police and nonconformists had turned out to be increasingly successive and progressively fierce, with injuries on both sides. Police have discharged tear gas and rubber bullets while a few activists have thrown bricks and firebombs.

In July, protesters raged the parliament building destroying parts of it. In August, one dissenter was harmed in the eye. This prompted demonstrators to wear red-shaded eye patches to demonstrate their solidarity.

The dissidents’ requests have changed throughout the weeks.

Their demands include:

  • The total withdrawal of the proposed bill.
  • The government to pull back the use of the word “riot” when addressing the protests.
  • The release of captures protesters and charges against them dropped
  • An independent investigation into police conduct
  • Implementation of genuine universal suffrage

There have likewise been reports of Chinese police and military massing over the outskirt in Shenzhen, in a reasonable demonstration of power.

Protests supporting the Hong Kong development have spread across the globe, which encourages occurring in the UK, France, US, Canada, and Australia.

After initially staying quiet on the unrest, China has condemned the Hong Kong protests as;

conduct that is near fear mongering

Throughout the protests, Hong Kong and Beijing governments have appeared to prefer to put a lot of pressure on the city’s police to control the situation, with the increasing use of force as protesters adopted more violent tactics.

Many protesters said,

“Hong Kong is dying anyway, so we might as well make a last struggle before we die”

 

Written by Hira Fatima

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