Why Are There So Many People on the Streets of Hong Kong?
Currently, Hong Kong's streets are overflowing with protestors. Why are there so many people protesting? To better understand this situation, we should first look at the historical background of the Hong Kong protests. In 1997, Britain returned Hong Kong to the Chinese government. In exchange, China promised not to touch Hong Kong's capitalist and democratic system for at least 50 years. Hong Kong was under British rule for 150 years, so the Chinese government accepted this arrangement. Institutional guarantees of this agreement are called ‘One Country Two Systems’. That is, two different systems that coexist within one country. However, the current views of China and Hong Kong run counter to this policy. Although one country two systems was applied as a unification principle, China has intervened in Hong Kong's elections and interfered in internal affairs. So, Hong Kong’s citizens gathered to the streets in September 2014 to demand a free direct election for Hong Kong's administrative minister. This was called the ‘Umbrella Revolution’, and expressed discontent with the reality that their freedom and rights were restricted. Currently, journalists and bookstore owners in Hong Kon is only an economic principle, so Hong Kong’s political system should be based on China's socialist system. The different views between China and Hong Kong has led to numerous protests. However, the biggest reason for Hong Kong’s recent protests has been the "Hong Kong Extradition Bill".
What is the Hong Kong Extradition Bill? It is a criminal law bill that allows suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to China if China demands it. This bill was issued when a man from Hong Kong killed a Taiwanese woman in February last year. The Taiwanese government tried to extradite the man to face charges in Taiwan. But there was no extradition bill between Hong Kong and Taiwan, so it was impossible to extradite the man. On the surface, the new extradition bill doesn't seem to be a large problem, but if it is misused the anti-Chinese, Hong Kong leadership could be labeled criminals and punished in China. China is working on Hong Kong repatriation law to absorb Hong Kong step by step. If the Hong Kong repatriation laws are passed, the Chinese government could arrest Hong Kong's citizens and bring them to court. Though Hong Kong is a part of China, Hong Kong has its own constitution, and is designated as a special administrative region. That is why Hong Kong is strongly opposed to this bill. Hong Kong’s government's position is as follows. First, this bill will not apply to political and religious criminals. Second, this bill will only apply to felonies with a sentence of over seven years. Third, the court of Hong Kong will decide whether or not to repatriate criminals.
Now let's take a look at the current situation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s government is considering implementing the Emergency Regulations Ordinance ahead of a massive Hong Kong protest on August 31. The Emergency Regulations Ordinance facilitates arresting citizens, and gives the government control over media, communication, and public demonstrationsOnce implemented, this could have a big impact on Hong Kong’s protesters. Hong Kong’s protests, which had been peaceful for some time, have recently become violent again. The international community is increasingly concerned that the worst of what is happening such as police brutality, riots, damage to public property could be avoided. It is expected that the introduction of methods to resolve the disputes will be needed to prevent damage to people, the economy, and property. As massive protests related to the Umbrella Revolution take place, attention needs to be placed on the relationship between Hong Kong and China, and they will have to be watched carefully for world peace.
▲ Hong Kong’s protestors take to the streets.
By Bae Yun-bin firstname.lastname@example.org
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