Hong Kong Protests


Ben Tucker, Secretary

Over the past few weeks, the protests in Hong Kong have gotten larger and more violent. Because of this, many have stood up in support for the Hong Kong protestors. But for those outside of the loop, it may seem very complicated and complex as to why the protests are taking place and, more importantly, why. The best way to answer this is by saying that this is a complex situation in how it got started and why it is continuing. When first diving into the how’s and the why’s, the most important thing to know about Hong Kong is that it’s very different from other Chinese cities because of its history. 

Up until the 90s, Hong Kong was a colony that was under the British empire. When Britain finally returned Hong Kong to China, there were questions as to how things would work out. Since Hong Kong was influenced heavily by democratic ideals, it would be difficult to integrate them into the current government of China. In order to compromise, Hong Kong and China have had a system called “One country, two systems.” 

Even though they are part of China, Hong Kong is extremely different from China. They may be ethnically Chinese, but Hong Kong has its own dialect, judiciary, taxes, money, and culture. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China and Hong Kong had separate teams.  This division leads many Hong Kong natives to not consider themselves Chinese, which can lead to tension.

However, the main reason for all the protests is a bill that Hong Kong’s government wanted to put into action. The bill would allow criminals who committed a crime in another country to be sent to the country that they committed the crime in and be put on trial. This may sound like a good thing at first, but many in Hong Kong fear this law since China could use it to pressure the Hong Kong government to punish political activists. If someone was sent to mainland China for a trial, they fear that it would not be fair and they would be treated harshly and shown no mercy. The protests that have broken out because of this have been peaceful. However, some police officers attacked protesters with pepper spray, leading to an escalation of violence and more democratic demands by the people of Hong Kong. Even after weeks, the protests still continue and Hong Kong’s fight for democracy shows no sign of stopping.