Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Hong Kong Protests Continue

HK ProtestsThe citizens of Hong Kong have been protesting the Chinese government since June 2019, when Chief Executive Carrie Lam proposed the ‘extradition law.’

The ‘extradition law’ stated that any crime committed in Hong Kong would be prosecuted in Mainland China.

This proposal sparked massive protests, resulting in the withdrawal of the bill on Sept. 4. Despite the bill’s extraction, protests are ongoing as young citizens fear for their autonomy. 

 Hong Kong has been a semi-autonomous region in China since the 1997 handover, when the United Kingdom relinquished control after 150 years of Western imperialism. Since the transfer of power, China agreed to a transition period where Hong Kong would retain its independence. This deal is known as the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement that will remain intact until 2047. 

Melissa Brzycki, an Assistant Professor of History with expertise in East Asian History, said, “The protests this year roughly coincide with the one hundredth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement of 1919, where students and others from across China protested the terms of World War I, the colonization of parts of China, and their own government's policies and actions.

She continued, "I think there are a lot of parallels there, especially in young people protesting their own government's policies, proposed or otherwise.” 

An anthem that has become the unofficial song of the protests is “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.” Many Christians and other religious minorities have become worried their freedoms would be gone if Mainland China gained more power. The song has been sung as a response for religious freedom, by people of faith and non-believers. 

Peter Liu, an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and a Chinese immigrant, said, “Nobody (Americans) knows what is going on. Hong Kong is where the west meets the east. The country of China is a communist state run by totalitarianism, Marxism, and a mix of Confucianism. There aren’t human rights in China, but there are in Hong Kong. America needs to be the moral support for these protesters.” 

He also commented on the international impact of these protests, “Little by little, China has crept into Hong Kong. China’s political abuses need to be stopped; there was a Hong Kong writer who wrote against the Chinese regime and since then he has not been found. Beijing has a strong of influence on the leaders of Hong Kong. The city is also the 3rd largest financial district in the entire world. If they are affected badly, we will be as well. Our 401ks and retirement funds can be hit hard.”  

“Peoples’ dissatisfaction with people of Hong Kong also have such rights and systems to ensure that their legitimate demands are effectively responded. I hope that people in Hong Kong can calmly respond to their demands,” Liu said. 

During these protests, violence has been growing more prevalent. Police and protesters have clashed, both in the peaceful and unorganized demonstrations.

The protesters have been caught in photos with five fingers up, each one for a demand. The first one was accomplished as the extradition bill was scratched, but the others requests like Lam’s resignation is unmet. 

One of the international students from China commented about the situation, “I strongly condemn the violence that occurred during the demonstrations and the illegal behavior of some opponents.”

He continued, “I hope that all opposition activities will be carried out on the premise of long-term stability of the city, rather than undermining the stability of society and the smooth order of social order.”

President Donald Trump in his address to the United Nations mentioned the Hong Kong protests, “The world fully expects that the Chinese government will honor its binding treaty made with the British and registered with the United Nations in which China commits to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system, and democratic ways of life.

“How China chooses to handle this situation will say a great deal about its role in the world in the future. We are all counting on President Xi as a great leader,” Trump said.

IMAGE COMPILED by Angela Mascia

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