What is Hong Kong(some history)
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. It’s located on the southern coast and borders the Chinese province of Guangdong.
The British took over Hong Kong in the 1840s during the Opium Wars and ruled the territory — with the exception of a brief occupation by the Japanese during World War II — for the next century and a half.
The British government, in 1898, signed what was basically a 99-year lease for the territory, set to expire in 1997. As that date started to move closer, both governments tried to work out a deal.
In 1984, after lengthy negotiations, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping signed a Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong.
Britain agreed to return the territory to China on July 1, 1997, on the promise that China would give Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” for 50 years, until 2047.
Formally, Hong Kong became a “special administration region” of the People’s Republic of China. The deal: China wouldn’t impose its government on Hong Kong, and Hong Kong’s “previous capitalist system and life-styles” would remain unchanged for that 50-year period. The setup became known as the “one country, two systems” rule.
Under this arrangement, Hong Kong could maintain its economic and trade policies, designed to protect Hong Kong’s status as an international financial capital. It gave
Hong Kong its own judicial, executive, and legislative powers, that included freedom of the press, assembly, and religious beliefs, among other rights.
Despite the Joint Declaration’s guarantee of autonomy, which is also codified in Hong Kong’s Basic Law (the closest thing it has to a constitution), in practice, the line between the two systems has become blurrier, with the Chinese government in Beijing attempting to exert more control.
How does Hong Kong’s government work?
Aaaah, it’s a mess.
The Joint Declaration and Hong Kong’s Basic Law say that Hong Kong is supposed to administer itself. But the arrangement also gives China the power to appoint Hong Kong’s chief executive, “on the basis of the results of elections or consultations to be held locally.”
So, there was a committee of some people who elected the chief executive, but the committee was full of China loyalists, so China gets to decide shit.
But Hong Kong’s Basic Law goes a bit further, and says that the “ultimate aim” is to elect the chief executive through “universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee.
So, in 2014, China accepted the universal suffrage thing, but there was a twist. They said, “All of y’all can vote, but the candidates you vote for, will be chosen by a committee(China decides who’s part of the committee).” So everyone can vote, but the candidates would be virtually decided by China.
Pro-democracy advocates were furious and took to the streets in what would become the 2014 Umbrella Revolution.(vvvvvv imp revolution)
How/why did the protests start?
The pro-democracy uprising that has rocked Hong Kong for the past several months began as a protest against proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition law.
Basically, the law said that any Hong Kong citizen could be extradited to any other country, if they violated any laws of that particular country.
Notably, that would include mainland China, a country that arbitrarily imprisons its citizens if they displease the government.
Critics worried that China would take advantage of this law to arbitrarily detain Hongkongers — such as those who openly dissent against the Chinese government or advocate for human rights. One pro-democracy lawmaker called it a “dragnet over all of Hong Kong.”
The amendments would apply retroactively, meaning thousands of people who may have angered mainland China with a supposed past crime could be at risk of facing trial there.
The extradition rule changes were particularly fraught because China is accused of kidnapping people from outside its borders — including from Hong Kong, where it isn’t supposed to have jurisdiction — and essentially disappearing them to China. That would normally violate international law. But this bill would give China legal cover to do so.(Basically super draconian shitttttt.)
On June 9, as many as a million people in Hong Kong peacefully protested against the bill as Lam prepared to push it through Hong Kong’s legislature.
Like 1/5th of the country was on the streets, super historic shitttttt.(they stormed the legislature and all that stuff, kaafi amazing revolution)
Police fired rubber bullets and all, things got more violent, people were arrested, and this increased the divide.
Protests went on in full flow, there was no stopping.
The impasse between protesters and the Hong Kong government looked unshakeable. But then, on September 4, Lam announced that — after weeks and weeks of sustained demonstrations — the government would formally withdraw the extradition bill.
And yet, protesters largely responded: “too little, too late.”
Over the weeks of protests, demonstrators began to see the Hong Kong government’s refusal to budge as the prime example of why universal suffrage — selecting their own leaders — was paramount if they wanted to preserve Hong Kong’s unique status.
And so the protests continued, some taking on an increasingly violent tenor.
In early October, the Hong Kong government tried to ban face masks, which protesters wore to hide their identities and to protect themselves from tear gas. Protesters defied the ban (which was later deemed unlawful). But it was a sign of just how deeply relations between authorities and the demonstrators had broken down.
November was a particularly bloody month. A protester was shot by police, and a man, believed to be a Beijing supporter, was set on fire.
The HK people came up with 5 demands:
1) Scrap the laws(already done)
2) Don’t use the words, “riot” to classify protests.(Rioters face 10 years in jail) 3) Release all protestors(4500 approximately) and drop all charges 4) Independent enquiry into police actions.(violence)
5) Give them actual suffrage, where they can elect their own leaders.
Hong Kong’s local district council elections on November 24: A historic 71 percent of voters turned out to vote, and pro-democracy candidates took majorities in 17 of the 18 district councils, flipping hundreds of seats that had been previously held by pro-Beijing candidates. (remember, local district councils elections, not the national one)
The results sent a strong message to the Hong Kong authorities — and to China. WHAT EXPLAINS CHINA’s STANCE?
China has taken an increasingly hard line against Hong Kong’s protests because it sees them as a threat to its growing influence in the territory.
After 1997, China mostly respected Hong Kong’s autonomy because Hong Kong contributed tremendously to China’s economy — about 27 percent of its GDP in the 1990s, and it is only about 3 percent today. China is eager to invest in the mainland now, so Hong Kong has lost a bit of its shield to Beijing’s influence.
So China has tried to bring Hong Kong closer and closer into its orbit. It wants Hong Kong to embrace the country’s ruling Communist Party and not care so much about those pesky freedoms Hong Kong citizens love so much. It wants Hong Kong to speak mainland China’s official language, Mandarin, instead of Cantonese.
SO WHAT DOES XI DO NEXT? THE NATIONAL SECURITY LAW(BOOM!)
Protests over an extradition law turned violent and evolved into a broader anti-China and pro-democracy movement.
China doesn’t want to see that happen again.
The law criminalises any act of:
- secession – breaking away from the country
- subversion – undermining the power or authority of the central government ● terrorism – using violence or intimidation against people
- collusion with foreign or external forces
Why are Hong Kong people worried?
It gives Beijing powers to shape life in Hong Kong it has never had before. Critics say it effectively curtails protest and freedom of speech – China has said it will return stability.
The new law’s key provisions include that:
- Crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison
- Damaging public transport facilities can be considered terrorism ● Those found guilty will not be allowed to stand for public office
- Companies can be fined if convicted under the law
- Beijing will establish a new security office in Hong Kong, with its own law enforcement personnel – neither of which would come under the local authority’s jurisdiction
- This office can send some cases to be tried in mainland China – but Beijing has said it will only have that power over a “tiny number” of cases
- In addition, Hong Kong will have to establish its own national security commission to enforce the laws, with a Beijing-appointed adviser ● Hong Kong’s chief executive will have the power to appoint judges to hear national security cases, raising fears about judicial autonomy
- Importantly, Beijing will have power over how the law should be interpreted, not any Hong Kong judicial or policy body. If the law conflicts with any Hong Kong law, the Beijing law takes priority
- Some trials will be heard behind closed doors.
- People suspected of breaking the law can be wire-tapped and put under surveillance
- Management of foreign non-governmental organisations and news agencies will be strengthened
- The law will also apply to non-permanent residents and people “from outside [Hong Kong]… who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong“.
Beijing has said Hong Kong should respect and protect rights and liberties while safeguarding national security – but many still fear the loss of Hong Kong’s freedoms with this law.
“It is clear that the law will have a severe impact on freedom of expression, if not personal security, on the people of Hong Kong,” Professor Johannes Chan, a legal scholar at the University of Hong Kong, told the BBC before the passage of the law. There are reports of people deleting Facebook posts, and concerns that candidates opposing the national security law will be disqualified from running in elections. Many are also afraid Hong Kong’s judicial independence will be eroded and its judicial system will look increasingly similar to mainland China’s. The city is the only common law jurisdiction in China.
“Effectively, they are imposing the People’s Republic of China’s criminal system onto the Hong Kong common law system, leaving them with complete discretion to decide who should fall into which system,” says Professor Chan.
People also worry that a threat to Hong Kong’s liberties could affect its attractiveness as a leading global business hub and economic powerhouse.
Currently, they are completely overhauling HK’s original system. School children are being brainwashed and all that shit.
So, basically they’ve crushed the pro-democracy movement. That’s all.
No one can actually do anything, except the US giving random solidarity statements, because China hai woh :p
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