Hong Kong Update

The Situation in Hong Kong Continues to Escalate


Hong Kong thanks America after President Trump sides with the protesters (courtesy of NBC News).

Taylor Shively, Assistant-Editor-in-Chief

In April of 2019, an extradition bill was introduced that would allow for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances. This left the people of Hong Kong at risk to be treated unfairly in court cases. In hopes to get the bill withdrawn completely, protests in Hong Kong began in mid June (BBC News). In July, protesters stormed and defaced the parliment in Hong Kong. In response to protests, the bill was suspened, but they wanted it withdrawn completely. In August, protesters stormed the Hong Kong international airport which left hundreds of flights delayed. In September, nearly six months after the bill was introduced, it was withdrawn. But by this point, the people of Hong Kong agreed that it was too late, and they wanted change in the government all together.

From there, the protests in Hong Kong have escalated greatly. October 1 was one of the most violent days of the protests so far. On that day, China celebrated 70 years of communist party rule. The protesters rallied harder than ever this day, leaving at least 66 people injured with 2 in critial condition. More than 180 people were arrested, and one police man even shot an 18-year-old boy. According to BBC News, a couple weeks later on November 6, a pro-Bejing lawmaker was stabbed by a man who pretended to be a fake supporter. Just a week after, a protester was shot close range by a police officer. Even after this, protesters still raged on. A man was even set on fire on November 11.

Many of the protesters are demanding five things;

  • Protests not to be characterized as a riot
  • Amnesty for all arrested protesters
  • Independent inquiry into alleged police brutality
  • Implemenation of complete universal suffrage
  • Complete withdraw of the bill

Some protesters also have expressed that they want Carrie Lam to be removed from office. Lam, the Cheif Executive of Hong Kong since 2017, was in favor of the bill and feels as though the bill did not intrude on any of the people in Hong Kong’s rights (South China Morning Post).

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, warned the people of Hong Kong that any attempt to divide China will end in smashed bodies and bones ground to powder (AP News). The threat however, was only taken as another initiative to protest more to get the rights they feel that they deserve. The threat led to thousands of people storming Hong Kong Polytechnic University in mid November. The protesters fortified the campus in hopes to keep the police out (BBC News). But the blockades only made them trapped. According to The Guardian, on November 18, they tried to escape by were kept inside by police using tear gas and water cannons. However, with minors trapped inside, and under a principals pleading requests, police allowed a group of teens to leave the premisis. The protesters were trapped for days, some tried to run out of different exits while others desended from a rope and were met by motorbikes. According to The Wall Street Journal, after 12 days, police stormed the campus-which at that point was pretty much deserted.

Over 4, 491 arrests have been made since the protests began in June. During the weekened of November 22-24, the protests took a pause as the people of Hong Kong took to the ballot box and showed the government that they want to keep their democracy. United States President Donald Trump signed legislation last week in support of the demonstrators (Bloomberg).