Hong Kong Protests Explained

Cameron Allen, Staff Reporter

Recently there have been several large protests taking place in Hong Kong with a lack of information on the cause of the protests. There are many factors to why these demonstrations, involving hundreds of thousands of people within Hong Kong, are taking place.

The protests began in June, when a bill proposed allowed extradition of suspected criminals back to China and Taiwan. This is due to a man and his pregnant girlfriend from Hong Kong going on vacation to Taiwan, where the man murdered his girlfriend. Since Taiwan and Hong Kong have no extradition agreements, a trial could not take place. Because of this, Hong Kong’s legislators proposed a bill that would allow extradition of criminals to Taiwan and China; where a problem arises. This bill would allow China to bring suspected criminals and outspoken dissenters of China to the mainland to be prosecuted. This sparked large controversy; the people of Hong Kong fear anyone who is sent to China on trial would be treated unfairly due to their legal system, which punishes anyone who speaks out against the state. They fear China is trying to encroach on their rights and push their influence into the region.

This is not the first time there has been mass protests in Hong Kong opposing legislation giving China more influence over the region. In 2003, there were protests to a bill that would give authorities the power to penalize anyone who spoke ill of China. China already has large influence over Hong Kong’s politics due to officials in Beijing electing their executive leader. Hong Kong operates under a complex system, allowing the region to have its own judicial and legislative powers separate from China. While the bill was withdrawn in September, we can expect more news about the political turmoil in Hong Kong as their agreement to remain independent of China expires in 2047.