Everything you need to know about Hong Kong Protest
Hong Kong is in deep political crisis as the protests move into 11th week. Hong Kong has witnessed an unprecedented series of protest against a controversial law which started as a movement has expanded into something bigger.
It started as the movement where protestors marched through the streets. Protest has now evolved into protestors marching into government headquarters and shutting down the city’s international airport. Most of the protestors have been peaceful but frustration has started building on all sides.
Protestors are now demanding an inquiry into police brutality during last demonstrations and greater democracy for the country. The billionaires have started calling for order. Beijing’s tone has started heating as the unrest intensifies.
Why Hong Kong is protesting
Hong Kong currently belongs to China but their cultural identity, political system and currency are different from China. Many Hong Kong residents don’t call themselves Chinese; they rather call themselves Hong Kongers.
The difference has a long history. Hong Kong was a colony and territory for more than 150 years of the United Kingdom. British then handed it back to China in 1997. The legal system in Hong Kong stills follows the British model.
The de-facto constitution of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong basic law is different from China. Freedom to protest, freedom to a free press and freedom of speech is guaranteed in Hong Kong’s law, which is not available in China.
The basic law of Hong Kong states that the country has the right to develop its own democracy and earlier Chinese officials also said that they won’t interfere. But Beijing has repeatedly reinterpreted the Basic law and say that “It has complete jurisdiction” over Hong Kong. The basic law also states that Hong Kong can safeguard the rights and freedom of their citizens for the next 50 years which started in 1997. But the residents are now saying that China has started to encroach those rights.
This threat of law has led to regular confrontations which have caused arrests of more than hundreds of protestors.
The protestors were sparked in July by opposition to a new extradition bill across the country. The protest against the bill developed into the demand for full democracy and accountability of police. Protestors got riled after an allegation by a female that she was injured in the eye during the clash with police. Reportedly, police were trying to disperse crowds and protestors from the Hong Kong airport when this happened.
Who are the protestors?
A survey led by researchers of the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Chinese University in Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University suggested that most of the protestors are from the age group of 20 years to 30 years. Majority of protestors are educated and belong to the middle class.
What has happened so far?
Hong Kong has seen many types of protestors in the last few days. From peaceful marches, smaller group actions which converted into clashes and vandalism to widespread strikes from Industrial professionals. It included people carrying banners which read “There’s no rioters, there’s only tyranny.” There were violent outbreaks at Hong Kong airport which set the tone for combat after protestors attacked and detained two people.
One of the busiest airports of Asia has been targeted by the protestors because they want to send the message directly to the International community. The airport is also a safe place to protest as there are media people present with their camera which will stop police to take strong action against the protestors.
Leaflets in different languages including Chinese, English, French, German, Korean, and Japanese were distributed among the passengers arriving at the International airport.
Impact on the Economy
Hong Kong is said to be the International business and financial hub and is China’s important trading partner. The Economy of Hong Kong has started showing signs of slowing down after protests.
Companies have reported that they are facing serious problems from the disruptions. Loss in revenue, shelved investments and disruption in the supply chain are the most hit areas for companies.
The airport which contributes to 5% GDP of Hong Kong has been disrupted. About 200 flights were cancelled on 12th August and more were cancelled disturbing the journey of many people. Cancellation of flights has resulted in decent loss of revenue for the government of Hong Kong.
Government and officials are against the protest. A government official said that what happened at the airport is the “bottom line of civilized society”. Police denounced the protest as “violent and radical act by protestor.”
Spokesperson of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, Yang Guang, said the protests showed the signs of terrorism and indicate that they are the real threat to the law. China has declared the protestors as a “violent mobs and criminals.”
What other countries are saying?
US President Donald Trump asked for calm and safety. He wrote on Twitter that “Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said that pictures of clashes between protestors and police from Hong Kong are worrying. He condemned the violence and appealed for constructive dialogue to find a peaceful way forward.
British MP Tom Tugendhat tweeted that “The UK has the opportunity to right a wrong and reassure the people of Hong Kong. British Nationals Overseas should be British Citizen.”
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