Hong Kong has never been a land without conflict, they’ve always been under someone else’s leadership, either under China’s or Britain’s chains. For example, Hong Kong was already a part of China since old times until the British Empire obtained Hong Kong as a colony after the First Opium War in 1842 when Qing China ceded the territory to the British.
After 156 years, Hong Kong was given back to China, although not everyone was pleased with the handover. Hong Kong citizens did not want to be put under China’s reign since China’s restrictive nature and censorship tendencies would mean the end of their freedom as a country.
Because of the aforementioned data, 500.000 citizens of Hong Kong marched on the streets in protest of the return of ownership to mainland China on the 3rd of July 1997. Despite having such big numbers, the exchange still took place, although Hong Kong was given special rights to administer their own country while being under China’s sovereignty with the “One Country, Two Systems” framework. Said system is expected to remain in place, at the very least, until 2047.
This is still the main concern of the Hong Kong citizens to this day. as well as the main reason why these protests are taking place right now, all due to the Extradition Bill that Carrie Lam, current Chief Executive of Hong Kong tried to implement this year. The citizens believe that the Chinese government cannot be trusted and would undoubtedly use the bill as an excuse to arrest people based on faux charges.
Because of the protest that took place on June 16 in which 2 million people participated, Carrie Lam announced the suspension of the bill but didn’t give a definite time frame and so the rally against the bill was still scheduled to take place. However, despite having won the argument against mainland China, the protestors pressed on with more demands because Hong Kong citizens felt that this was the only time their demands would be heard, and so they asked for the following:
- Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill from the legislative process
- Retraction of the “riot” characterisation
- Release and exoneration of arrested protesters
- Resignation of Carrie Lam and the implementation of universal suffrage for Legislative Council and Chief Executive elections
Later on, Carrie Lam announced the bill’s official withdrawal to be held on October 23rd. Yet mainland China refused to answer their demands aparts from the bill’s full withdrawal and therefore the riots are still continuing to this day. Nevertheless, the conflict seems to be coming to an end because the patience of the leaders of China is wearing thin, as mainland China has also asked other countries to stay out of the conflict. Additionally, mainland China is mobilizing its troops further in the land towards Hong Kong in order to put a stop to the protests once and for all, since they have already stirred up more trouble than they would like to tolerate
Personally, I am firmly on the side of Hong Kong’s citizens and their honorable fight for freedom, because, in the end, if we give up our right to be free, we are giving up our future as well.