Hong Kong Protest Continues On

Hong Kong Protest Continues On

Hong Kong Protest Continues On

In 1997, Hong Kong was handed back to China after over a hundred years of British control, including a 99-year lease of the colony. Ever since then, China has been trying to assert more and more control over Hong Kong.

The latest attempt was an extradition law. Hong Kong has its own judicial system, and was guaranteed that right by China when the handover occurred (but this will only last for 50 years), and Hong Kong has no extradition agreement with China over its human rights abuses. Once the extradition law legislation was announced, the people of Hong Kong protested vigorously – to the point that the bill has been abandoned for now.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said there was no timeline for reviving the bill, but that its passage was unlikely anytime soon.”

Citing what she called “polarized opinions” and the need to prevent any more injuries such as those seen in recent clashes during large-scale demonstrations, Lam said that more time was necessary before proceeding.”

“After repeated internal deliberations over the last two days, I now announce that the government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, restart our communication with all sectors of society, do more explanation work and listen to different views of society,” she said at a press conference.”

The turnaround came after mass protests shook the Asian financial hub over the past week. Just days earlier, Lam said that the bill must be passed and on Wednesday condemned the demonstrations as a “blatant, organized riot.”

But citing widespread “concerns and doubt” among the public, and fears over a “further blow to society,” she called for a time-out.”

That did not stop a huge protest on Sunday. Estimates range from 338,000 to 2 million people on the streets of Hong Kong, protesting and demanding Carrie Lam’s resignation.

And while the numbers may be dwindling on the streets, it’s clear that Hong Kong leadership wants this over with – and as of Monday morning, they were telling police to clear the streets of any remaining protesters.

The police asked for cooperation in clearing the road. Protesters, many in masks and other gear to guard against possible use of tear gas, responded with chants, some kneeling in front of the officers. The move came after activists rejected an apology from the city’s top leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony.”

Hundreds of protesters sat on and along a main road through downtown, but they were scattered over a relatively wide area.”

Activists called on Hong Kong residents to boycott classes and work, though it was unclear how many might heed that call.”

Nearly 2 million of the city’s 7 million people turned out on Sunday, according to estimates by protest organizers. Police said 338,000 were counted on the designated protest route in the “peak period” of the march. A week earlier as many as 1 million people demonstrated to voice their concern over Hong Kong’s relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the territory’s special status since Beijing took control in a 1997 handover.”

After daybreak Monday, police announced that they want to clear the streets. Soon after, police lined up several officers deep and faced off against several hundred demonstrators on a street in central Hong Kong.”

We just marked the 30th anniversary since the slaughter at Tiananmen Square, and that may well be on the minds of many a protestor as they march in Hong Kong. This moment may end in a stalemate, and the issue might fade away for a time, but in 2047 (if not much sooner), you can bet there will be a breaking point. Hong Kong’s political leadership may be trying to appease China as best as they can, but it is clear that the people of Hong Kong have zero interest in giving up control of their lives to China. While these protests might have gotten one bill stopped, you can bet that Chinese political leaders are not happy. And they have to be even less happy that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that President Trump will be bringing up the protests at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan next week. This situation is not over by a long shot.

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Featured image: Hong Kong skyline, image via Pixabay, Pixabay license

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