Hong Kong Protests

Sophia Standley, Section Editor

There are protests in Hong Kong, due to Hong Kong being swapped from British rule to Chinese rule. Many of the laws and customs that Hong Kong has come accustomed to are being taken away. What used to be democratic and independent is now communist and being ruled over. The protests started in June, 2019. Protests began when millions opposed a controversial bill that allowed extradition from Hong Kong to China. Although the city leader shelved the bill protestors are now calling for democracy and inquiries into police brutality. Protests are becoming more violent as time goes on. 

The brutal clashes between activists and police include police firing bullets and activists throwing petrol bombs. On October 1, while China was celebrating 70 years of communist rule, Hong Kong experience one of it’s most “violent and chaotic days”. An 18 year old was shot in the chest with a live bullet as protestors fought police with poles, petrol bombs, and other projectiles. The government then banned protestors wearing face masks, and in early November a pro-Beijing lawmaker was stabbed in the street by a man pretending to be a supporter. One week later a policeman shot one protestor at close range when activists were trying to set up a roadblock. Later that day another man was set on fire by anti-government protestors.

The activists wanted a few things. Those few things are for the protests to not be characterised as a riot, amnesty for arrested protestors, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, and the fifth demand, the withdrawal of the bill, has already been met.  Hong Kong has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China. Those rights include freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. But those freedoms – the Basic Law – expire in 2047 and it is not clear what Hong Kong’s status will then be. The Hong Kong protests in 2019 began in opposition to a proposed extradition law that would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to mainland China, among other jurisdictions. The demonstrations have since escalated into a much wider and prolonged anti-government movement that has resulted in increasingly violent clashes between protesters and police across the city.