Nature of protests in Hong Kong is ever-changing

October 30, 2019 — by Krithi Sankar

Hong Kong was originally a British colony, but in 1997, China took over the nation under the Basic Law. This “one country, two systems” legislation means Hong Kong is semi-autonomous; mainland China controls Hong Kong, but Hong Kong maintains civil liberties that are unavailable to mainland Chinese people, including independent courts, a free press and open internet.

The Basic Law is set to expire in 2047, which would mean Hong Kong might lose its right to self-govern and will be subject to full Chinese rule.

In addition to the looming expiration date, there is a proposed extradition bill that would allow the Chinese government to transfer wanted people to Hong Kong. The protesters believe this policy would not only target criminals but also political activists like themselves. The bill was formally withdrawn at the beginning of September to “allay public concerns,” according to Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, and on Oct. 24, the bill was killed by Lam.

The protesters’ movement now focuses on the five demands they have for the government of Hong Kong and mainland China. These demands include an inquiry into alleged police brutality, the resignation of executive Lam, a retraction of classifying protesters as rioters, amnesty for arrested protesters and dual universal suffrage.

Steps are being taken to meet one of these protesters’ demands, as the Chinese government is seeking a replacement for Lam in the midst of the escalating protests. Currently, protesters are taking to the streets with petrol bombs and other flammable items to target Chinese businesses and encourage Hong Kong residents to promote businesses in support of the  pro-democracy movement.

In response to the escalation of these protests, the Hong Kong court issued a temporary ban on doxxing, or releasing information about police officers and their families publicly, until Nov. 8. Additionally, the police came to a rally supporting the country’s ethnic minorities last Sunday armed with tear gas.

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