There’s a protest going on in Hong Kong and it’s not dying down anytime soon—that is, not until the people of Hong Kong feel reassured that China isn’t slowly taking away their democratic freedoms. If you’re wondering why this is a fear in the first place, the answer—like most things involving politics—is complicated.
On January 25th, 1841, Britain used Hong Kong as a military staging point and invaded China. China was defeated and as a part of the peace treaty, otherwise known as the Treaty of Nanking, China ceded (or gave up) Hong Kong to the British in the form of a ninety-nine year lease. It wasn’t until 1997 that the British returned Hong Kong to China—an event that had the entire world wondering: Would China allow Hong Kong to operate as an independent region like it was before the handover, or would China slowly take away its democratic freedoms?
While the people of Hong Kong don’t get to choose their leaders, they share the same freedoms as other democratic countries such as freedom of the press and freedom of speech. That’s why they protest to express their discontent for what’s happening with their government.
Recently, the people of Hong Kong took to the streets to protest a piece of extradition legislation that’s being considered among the lawmakers. Those who support this legislation believe that it will help keep Hong Kong from being a haven for criminals. Those who oppose it believe that it’s a way for China to remove people who don’t share their political views. While the legislation was supposed to be up for a vote earlier this month, the massive protests have caused lawmakers to postpone the vote and later suspend the legislation until further review.
What will happen and what are the true intentions of this piece of legislation? No one knows for sure, but what we do know is that the world is keeping a close eye on what happens next!
In the meantime, how would you react if you thought your freedoms were being taken away?