The anti-government protests rocking the Asian nation of Hong Kong for months shows no sign of slowing down. The reason for the protest was the government’s resistance to the agitation against the extradition of the country to mainland China. The main supporters of the Hong Kong protesters believe that the unrest will continue to endanger the lives of Hong Kong residents and undermine its judiciary.
Until the year 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by Britain but then the country was handed back to China. Under Hong Kong’s One-Nation-Two-Systems arrangement, it offers its people substantial rights and it has a significant level of autonomy from China. The bill to drag the country into mainland China was withdrawn as far back as September 2019 but that has not deterred demonstrators to leave the streets. Residents of Hong Kong are now asking for full autonomy.
The extradition bill triggered a nationwide protest in Hong Kong in April 2019, but if it were to be passed, it would allow the extradition of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to China under some circumstances. After weeks of violent protests, the leader of the Nation- Carrie Lam promised the people of Hong Kong that the bill would be suspended.
Escalation of Protests in Hong Kong
Protesters had feared that the bill could be revived hence the protests escalated with protesters calling for its complete removal. With clashes between the police and protesters becoming more violent and lives lost, the government cave into pressures and remove the bill in September 2019.
On the 1st of October, the day China celebrated its 70 years of the rule of the communist party, Hong Kong witnessed its bloodiest day of protests. An 18-year-old was shot to death by police officers while protesters fought policemen with projectiles and petrol bombs. A few days later the government decided to ban protesters from wearing face masks.
Later in November 2019, there were local council elections that were considered the measure for public opinion. As expected, the pro-democracy movement on the side of the people won the elections by a clear margin, taking 17 out of 18 councils.
Hong Kong protesters have adopted the 5-point agenda. They want the government not to characterise the protest as a riot. Secondly, they want arrested protesters to be granted amnesty. They also want an independent inquiry into police brutality, Implementation of universal suffrage, and the withdrawal of the extradition bill.
Today, Beijing has declared an anti-protest law with hundreds of people already arrested within the first few days of the new law. More than 10 have been arrested for holding a rally with one person arrested for holding a pro-independence flag.
In July 2020, the government of the United Kingdom announced that up to 3 million residents of Hong Kong will be allowed to settle in the UK and they have the opportunity of applying for citizenship. On Wednesday 8th of July 2020, thousands of residents had gathered for the annual pro-democracy rally marking the handover of Hong Kong to China by the UK government defying bans by the government on COVID-19 laws.