By: VIVIAN KRINGLE
Hong Kong was a previous outpost of the British Empire until 1997 when they were then handed back to China. Because of this, Hong Kong has had a certain amount of independence from China being described by the Washington Post as a “semi-autonomous region.” Many aspects of Hong Kong still follow the British model as a policy dubbed “one country, two systems.” Hong Kong has differentiated themselves with their own self identities, currencies, and political system.
Hong Kong’s government proposed a bill earlier in the year called the Extradition Bill. The Hong Kong government says the new law will “ensure the city doesn’t become a haven for suspected criminals.” This states that countries, even ones that don’t hold extradition treaties can request and have a say in extradition of criminal suspects in Hong Kong. With the announcement of this bill Hong Kong citizens broke out into Peaceful rallies in June of 2019 in attempts to avoid China’s flawed justice system and out of fear of losing democratic independence.
These peaceful rallies over time began branching out into bigger issues, riots, and violence. Protesters vandalized the legislative building, millions marched through streets, stormed government headquarters, and violent outbreaks took place in a Hong Kong airport. Protesters began to break out with new issues of police brutality. CNN describes a situation where a “female protester was injured in the eye during clashes with police who were trying to disperse crowds. Protesters at the airport wore eyepatches in reference to the woman’s injury.”
In just November, another strike began resulting in schools, three universities, and businesses to be closed. Barricades were set up, a petrol bomb was thrown into train lines, and Time reports in an article that “Protesters hurled rocks at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.”
What started as a protest for a bill broke out into violent protest demanding the end of police brutality, for those who have been arrested to be released, and greater democratic freedoms. The strikes have escalated into something no one could have expected turning into the largest citywide strike in decades. It has led to months of protests and violence, at times even threatening people’s lives.