World’s Eyes on Protests

Photo Credit: )

Photo Credit: )

Nicole Duffett, Staff Writer

In recent news, Hong Kong, a region controlled by The People’s Republic of China, yet has its own limited form of autonomy, has been undergoing a series of increasingly rampant and powerful protests. These protests stem primarily from The People’s Republic of China attempting to bring Hong Kong under its full control. To truly comprehend these protests and the drive behind them, one must understand the historical context behind this situation.

It all began in 1997. Hong Kong was originally a British colony. However, during that year, Hong Kong was given to China. This process was completed under the policy known as the “one country, two systems.” Under this particular policy, Hong Kong did become a part of China, but had their own set of freedoms, laws, and government (known as the Basic Law) that was vastly different from the rest of China. It was agreed that China would allow this system to remain up until the year 2047.

Flash forward to recent times. The local government constructed a bill in which those who have been accused of crimes can be sent to areas in which Hong Kong has no extradition treaty. Much to Hong Kong’s dismay, this bill includes mainland China. Mainland China, of course, is ruled by the Communist Party, which is what most Hong Kong citizens dislike. The chief executive of the area, Carrie Lam, argued that this bill was necessary to bring more justice to those who try to escape prosecution. Those who oppose Lam claimed that this bill would be used unjustly, as mainland China would be able to freely target various people from Hong Kong who they dislike, such as activists, for instance.

As a result of this extradition bill, a peaceful march was initiated on June 9th of this year to protest against it. Three days later, protestors were attacked by police forces with tear gas, pepper spray, and more. This further fueled the fire of the protestors, who now have a more negative view towards the police force.

Essentially, the anger towards the police, as well as the government for introducing more restricting bills and ideas such as the bill previously mentioned, have caused the protests to become violent. There is much more tension between the protestors and police force. It has even reached the point where one police officer shot a Hong Kong protestor point blank! Protestors have been throwing bricks at the police! Protestors are also beginning to gradually lose their rights, as small as they may be. For instance, they are no longer allowed to wear masks, which protected their anonymity during the protests. The conditions of the protests are evidently worsening, although some nonviolent protests have been rather active as well.

In short, the protests in Hong Kong are a complicated issue. It really makes the rest of the world think about the implications this has towards China. Is mainland China in the right? Is Hong Kong in the right? How will they resolve this? Will their situation get even worse? Predicaments such as the ones presented in Hong Kong need to be taken seriously not only by China, but by the rest of the world, in order to wholly understand just what is going on, and what can be done to improve their circumstances in a civil and peaceful manner.