Hong Kong Protests

Last February, the Hong Kong government started contemplating a specific bill that would later spark the many protests in Hong Kong. This proposed bill would let Hong Kong’s chief executive extradite criminals to jurisdictions that have no extradition treaty with Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong does not have an extradition treaty with China, the bill could allow Hong Kong residents to be extradited to China. Many people in Hong Kong feared that opposers and challengers of the Chinese government would be extradited to China. In the spring of 2019, small protests began, but on June 9, hundreds of thousands of people showed up to protest the bill being passed.  Police tried to break up the protesters by firing tear gas, bean bag rounds, and rubber bullets.

On June 12, many businesses went on strike. The chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, announced the suspension of the bill on June 15. Protesters were still not satisfied because they wanted the complete withdrawal of the bill.  On June 16, over two million showed up to protest. On July 1, protesters once again gathered, and this time they charged into the Legislative Council Complex where they smashed furniture and defaced the Hong Kong emblem. Following this event, protests started constantly occurring throughout Hong Kong. On July 26, protesters took to the airport where they handed out pamphlets about the issue. While many protests were peaceful, some became violent. On August 5, 350,000 people went on strike, leading to over 200 flight cancellations. On that same day, a number of other protests were held. The police fired over 800 canisters of tear gas at the protesters.

From August 12 to 14, protesters stayed in the Hong Kong national airport which caused many flight cancellations. On August 18, more than 1,700,000 people came to protest in Hong Kong. Several more protests occurred throughout the month of August. Over the course of the conflict the protesters made five demands: “complete withdrawal of the extradition bill from the legislative process, retraction of the “riot” characterisation, release and exoneration of arrested protesters, establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into police conduct and use of force during the protests, and resignation of Carrie Lam and the implementation of universal suffrage for Legislative Council and Chief Executive elections.” Carrie Lam announced she was withdrawing the bill on September 4. Many saw this action as “too little, too late” and have continued protesting. Most recently, protesters carrying U.S flags marched to the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong on September 8. The protesters are calling on the Trump administration to help end the three-month conflict between the protesters and the government. The protest again escalated quickly when protesters set fire to a barricade. Only time will tell what will happen in Hong Kong. 

Katya Luchette ’22





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