Hong Kong’s recent protests regarding their promised independence are causing pain and national trouble, and the matter isn’t getting better. Hong Kong’s protests started this year due to the recently passed bill put in place.
A pregnant woman was killed on February 2018 by her partner while on holiday in Taiwan, and her partner returned home where his act was uncovered. However, Hong Kong couldn’t imprison him since the act was done in Taiwan and Taiwan and Hong Kong do not share an extradition agreement. But since the murder wasn’t done in Hong Kong either, it meant the man couldn’t be charged in either country. Therefore a bill was introduced which allowed suspects to be moved to Taiwan to be trialled and possibly charged. What caused the backlash is that this bill was going to include mainland China.
Since 1997, Hong Kong has been a semi-autonomous region; free to practice most affairs such as its legal and social system. A democratic state with freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. Beforehand, it had been governed by the UK for almost one hundred years after losing a series of battles to the UK in the late 1800s. Hong Kong’s autonomy was agreed upon after an agreement with China, which gave Hong Kong partial independence until 2047, where it will officially become part of China. Hong Kong has fought hard for this independence after years of British rule and the majority of the population wish to remain independent for as long as it is possible.
Therefore, when this bill passed, connecting China to Hong Kong, many weren’t happy. This extradition bill seemingly gave more power to China when already, people were suspicious of China not waiting for the deal to expire. Pro-democratic leaders have been arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of Chinese influence and since 2003 Hong Kong has had protest against China’s influence on their culture; such as trying to enforce Mandarin and eradicate Cantonese, and take control over their elections.
The Hong Kong police have started using force over the summer, which only encouraged a surge in protests. One accident which you might have seen in the first week of August included a young woman being shot in the eye with a rubber bullet. This woman, said to be a volunteer medic, went blind in the eye in which she was shot. The victim’s sister said that the surgery failed to save her vision and that her bones around the hit eye socket were shattered. She wished the protesters luck and said on her sister’s part how much she loved Hong Kong and how willing she was to protect her home and freedom.
Soon after, protests followed in Hong Kong’s international airport with people carrying eye patches on their right eye or painting their eye to look bloody as a way to object to the police’s harsh methods of retaliation. Following the saying ‘An eye for an eye’, the protesting meant the airport shut down for two days. The police refuse to take the blame and instead tried to ration that she might not have been hit by a police officer, but instead by another protester, and encouraged people not to share videos of law enforcement.
So what will this mean? The protests are mainly being carried out by young people, some still in high school. The extradition bill has since been suspended, and the airport is working again. Although it is suspected that the protests will calm down after the school year starts, the youth of Hong Kong don’t seem to want to give up just yet, as they know their independence will constantly be under attack from China.