Hong Kong Protests

Jasmine Masalmeh, Staff Writer

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The current political situation in Hong Kong has been broadcast for the whole world to see the state of the brutal chaos. Many students and civilians have abandoned their studies, their jobs and even their homes to march the streets to advocate for their values and rights. Due to the polarization and tension that continues to grow between the Hong Kong citizens and the Chinese government, the stakes are being raised every day.

The protests started with the murder of a couple in Hong Kong traveling to Taiwan; while staying at a hotel, one of them was murdered by the other. The Hong Kong authorities could not charge him since the crime was committed in Taiwan. A bill was proposed to allow extradition between Hong Kong and Taiwan to try perpetrators, but that would also result in allowing extradition to China.

Hong Kong citizens argued China wouldn’t allow a fair trial, and that is when the tension boiled over. Citizens in Hong Kong say they are fighting for their rights as a sovereign territory within China to maintain a semi-autonomous government and system without the aid of China. Due to the two countries/one system clause made by the British government after they conquered China, Hong Kong was given a different system to go by. Hong Kong is expected to be fully naturalized into China by 2047 due to the 99 Years Rule, which the British also implemented.

The protestors have five demands: 1) that the protests no longer be considered riots; 2) the end to unfair arrests of protesters; 3) the elimination of uninvestigated police brutality; 4) universal suffrage, which would extend the right to vote to all, and 5) a promise not to resurrect the extradition bill, which has already been sidelined in response to the protests.

When protests are categorized as riots, the arrested protesters face extradition to mainland China. In the mainland, protestors say court rulings are often unfair, leading to an extreme consequence for a minor misdemeanor. As a result, protesters are demanding protection from said extradition. There is alleged ignorance towards police brutality and a lack of action. Without inquiry, the corruption within government agencies will violate the rights of Hong Kong’s citizens. Despite having democratic advancements, universal suffrage was never granted to China while under British rule, resulting in elections that don’t fully represent the people and a potential abuse of power. The risk of protesting is losing a home, a family, but for the protestors, the chance at change outweighs the potential hardships.