Hong Kong Protests: The Whole Story

Hong Kong is significantly different than other Chinese cities as can be seen by looking through its history.

Hong Kong was a British colony for over 150 years- the Hong Kong island (part of Hong Kong) was ceded by the British through a war in 1842, then the Chinese authorities leased the other part of it for 99 years to the British. In the 1950s it became an important commercial hub enjoying a busy port, this was the time when its economy was rocketing. It also attracted population from Mainland China who were trying to escape the poverty existing in the regions. In the early 1980s when the deadline of the lease was approaching the Chinese authorities and Hong Kong authorities began discussing the future of Hong Kong with the Chinese communist party appealing for Hong Kong to merge with China. In 1984, discussions were held and a treaty was signed between china and Hong Kong under which Hong Kong will become a part of China from 1994 but it will enjoy “greater autonomy, except in defense and foreign affairs” for 50 years which would establish the “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong.

This effectively means that Hong Kong will have its own borders and legal system, freedom of media and free speech.

Hong Kong still enjoys many rights which are not available in Mainland China but rights groups are accusing Chinese authorities of meddling with many affairs in Hong Kong including the incident of expelling many US journalists and also not allowing them to work in Hong Kong, the Chinese authorities are also accused of forcing it’s propaganda in Hong Kong. The current leader of Hong Kong has been elected by a 1200 members council which includes mostly pro-Beijing members who have been elected by only 6% eligible voters. 

Hong Kong’s mini constitution also called the basic law quotes that the members of the legislative council should be elected through a more democratic manner but the Chinese authorities have a different outlook to this way. In 2014, the Chinese authorities said that it would allow the people of Hong Kong to elect their leaders from a list pre-approved by Beijing officials.

The idea of identification in Hong Kong. Most of the Hong Kong residents although residing in China do not identify as themselves as Chinese. A study by the University of Hong Kong showed that most of the Hong Kong residents identify themselves as Hong Kongers - only 11% identify themselves as “Chinese” whereas 71% are not proud of being called “Chinese”. 

The main reasons for this denial of being Chinese comes from the fact that they were a discrete colony for over 150 years.
Although there has been a history of protests in Hong Kong, it has escalated since 2019.

The latest protests
In June 2019, Hong Kong show massive protests against a bill introduced in the Chinese parliament which allowed extraditions to China. This time, the clashes between police and protestors were highly violent.
The bill was halted and later wholly withdrawn but the protests were still going on for an inquiry to be set up to inspect the police actions.
In April this year, the Hong Kong authorities arrested 15 pro-democracy activists for unlawful and unauthorized assemblies.
In May, the Hong Kong watchdogs issued a statement saying that there was no fault on the part of Police in 2019 protests.
The protests had dried down due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Now, the Chinese authorities have introduced a new defense law which they state as necessary for stabilizing the region. This new law widely broadens the power of the law authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish dissenters.
 This law has been seen all around the world as a way to scrap the autonomy of Hong Kong and its citizens.
Now the Hong Kong education secretary has banned students from singing the protest anthem “glory to Hong Kong” and posting slogans for the pro-democracy protests. The new security law which was conceived in secrecy and passed without much input from Hong Kong allows Beijing to crackdown on a variety of political crimes including separatism and collusion. 
The main details of the new law include:
  he new law include:
1. Maximum punishment for affairs including separatism, collusion and terrorism. These punishments also include life imprisonment in some cases.
2. Inducting students to hate the government in Hong Kong or China is a serious crime.
3.A new Committee for Safeguarding National Security will be allowed to work in secrecy and not be eligible to any legal action. It’s main objective being scrutinizing Hong Kong schools, universities, corporations, non-governmental organizations, news agencies etc.

Conclusion: The passing of this new law has made it impossible for the Hong Kong citizens to protest for democratic rights and has been as an oppressive and derogatory law which will result in the decline of autonomy of Hong Kong starting now.

         - Mayank Mishra 



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