The Hong Kong Protests

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The Hong Kong Protests

As one of my first posts for our latest topic, Hong Kong in Crisis, I decided to write about Hong Kong, its history, and one of the most pressing points, the Protests...

History

Britain occupied the island of Hong Kong on 25 January 1841, and used it as a military staging point. China was defeated, and was forced to give up Hong Kong to Britain in the "Treaty of Nanking" signed on 29 August the following year. Hong Kong became a Crown Colony of the British Empire, which was a type of administration (exclusively in the British Empire). They then ruled Hong Kong for about 150 years.

In 1997, however, Britain gave Hong Kong back to China, and both countries signed a sort of agreement, called the "Sino-British Joint Declaration". This was about how Hong Kong was to be run.

The agreement said that Hong Kong would become part of China, but it would keep the legal, political and banking systems set up by the British and people living there would keep their freedoms.

The Start of the Protests

The first protest was triggered by something called an extradition bill, which was first introduced in April. The extradition bill would have allowed criminals to be extradited (handed over) to mainland China. Opponents thought this risked exposing Hong Kongers to unfair trials and violent treatment - rightly so. They also argued that China was just using this to take greater hold over Hong Kong, and this was just one of their schemes.

After weeks of protests, leader Carrie Lam eventually said the bill would be suspended indefinitely. However, Hong Kong must not have trusted their leader - perhaps because she herself was chosen by China - since protesters feared the bill could be revived. The bill was finally withdrawed in September.

By then, both the protesters and the police's ways of dealing with the issues have risen. Police are now using tear gas, and rubber bullets. Some activists have thrown bricks, firebombs and other objects. In July, the Parliament has been stormed into, defacing part of it. The next month, in August, one protester was injured in the eye, leading to demonstrators wearing red-coloured eye patches to show their unity. Protest action at Hong Kong International Airport in August also saw clashes and led to hundreds of flights being cancelled - as you can see, they are clever; they go to places where they know they can get media and recognition - not just any old town.

Since these protests have been going on for a few months - since March - the activists' demands have changed. Some include:

  • Withdrawal of the "riot" description used about the protests
  • An official pardon for all arrested protesters
  • An independent inquiry into alleged police brutality
  • Resignation of Carrie Lam (since she is the leader chosen by the Chinese Goverment)

What has been happening recently?

In our latest BNC session (7th October), we were to take on a role of a certain person. I remember someone saying that the protests have been nothing but violence. Our teacher said that just today the police had to use tear gas, and a person in my group mentioned that someone was shot in the chest a few days ago (evidence that I found here: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hong-kong-protests-today-shooting-live-round-china-national-day-a9127561.html (The Independant) and, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-49891403 - BBC News). So you really can see that tensions are rising, day by day.

My Opinion ~ is what they are doing right?

Every citizen has the right to protest peacefully, I think. But it's so hard to estimate what's going to happen with such a big crowd. Tension, group pressure, the wrong ideas with the wrong people - this can all lead to disaster, much like last year's issue of Knife Crime. This is what I'm afraid of. It can even lead to loss of people's lives, or beatings - it's happened in Hong Kong already.

I do understand that they are doing what they feel is right. And I respect that. But, honestly, couldn't they have thought of perhaps a more peaceful solution? Maybe campaign like Greta Thunberg did, outside the Parliament, or try to have another agreement, like the Sino-British Joint Declaration I mentioned earlier. Just something instead of jumping to conclusions and simply protesting...

Learn more about the Sino-British Joint Declaraion and what it has to do with Hong Kong’s extradition crisis: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3017318/explainer-what-sino-british-joint-declaration-and-what-does (by the South China Morning Post)

And Hong Kong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Hong_Kong or for the timeline: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-16526765

Comments (5)

  • tom Tom @ the BNC
    07 Oct 2019

    Thank you for your post, content_lemon. There's a lot here and you've referenced it to your sources! Do you think Hong Kong protestors would say they have 'jumped to conclusions'?

    Also, you might be interested in our stretch and challenge question which you can find in the Editors Picks, about the events of 1st October. We'd be interested to hear your thoughts!

    Reply to this comment
    1. Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg content_lemon | Boutcher C of E Primary School
      Tom @ the BNC's comment 08 Oct 2019

      Hi Tom. Thanks so very much for the star!
      In answer to your question, “Do you think Hong Kong Protestors would say that they have ‘jumped to conclusions’” I think not. But it is different when you are protesting for what you strongly think is right, and when you, like me, are across the globe simply watching everything unravel via news reports. I suppose they must think that since the leader, Carrie Lam, was chosen by the Chinese Government, then she won’t listen. After all, people higher than you do not like to be told what to do! Especially by a bunch of angry and demanding citizens.

      Initially, I thought that they had indeed jumped to conclusions since out of all the articles I have read on this issue, I have not found one yet that mentions any peaceful negotiating – simply protests. Now, however, that you have asked me this question, and I have thought of it, I have changed my mind slightly; they did what they thought was right at the moment. There is a high probability that they would’ve been arrested for interfering with the Chinese Government’s decisions, and Ms Lam would probably ignore them if not – or promise something, only to break it.

      I’ll definitely have a look at the Events of the 1st October post and share my thoughts. I’m interested in hearing other people’s, too. Thanks again for the star!

      Reply to this comment
  • Hammond School logo jolly_land | Hammond Junior School F
    08 Oct 2019

    Very interesting post it really covered evrything

    Reply to this comment
    1. Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg content_lemon | Boutcher C of E Primary School
      jolly_land's comment 10 Oct 2019

      Thank you! I tried to cover most things that I saw important.

      Reply to this comment
  • Hammond School logo hilarious_fruit | Hammond Junior School A
    11 Oct 2019

    I am using this as research for my school lesson on the Hong Kong crisis ty!

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