Michael Li / Edge columnist
In merely 8 months, Hong Kong, the global financial center is now shattered by rage and chaos. The government refused to listen to the people, instead, stripping them of their rights.
The Hong Kong protest is relevant to the Gleneagle community since many students are from Hong Kong, and they feel upset to see their government viciously tearing apart their homeland.
Under the Chinese Communist Party’s strong political influence over Hong Kong, the proposal of an unpopular bill resulted in the public outcry; it directly devastated Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy to support its own democratic system. Passing this law would allow China to target political opponents from Hong Kong and extradite them to China, where government officials have complete power to conduct unfair trials or other violations of human rights.
According to a Wall Street Journal interview, Lam Wing Kee, an outspoken pro-democracy activist from Hong Kong described his abduction, when he crossed the border to China, he was “handcuffed and blindfolded during the interrogation,” then he was “transferred to a detention center” where he was abducted for 8 months. Lam also stated that his colleagues of missing booksellers “disappeared one after another” before the extradition bill was even introduced.
Lam’s experience proves that the bill gives China even more entitlement to threaten the safety of Hong Kong citizens. Hong Kong’s authorities should live up to their duty of protecting the rights of their people before China evaporates them.
Between March and June of 2019, hundreds of thousands of citizens protested on the streets for the complete withdrawal of the bill. BBC News reported at first, “the protest was non-violent,” but it soon escalated. Police started using “tear gas, and rubber bullets”, and clashes between the two sides “soon broke out.” Furthermore, BBC news recorded that the police arrested over 5,000 people and thousands of others were injured.
Around mid-July, The Guardian explained that Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong announced the suspension of the bill. As “the government failed to fully withdraw the bill, people took to the streets” again.
Demonstrations may shut down public facilities, but everyone has the right to call for change. When Officials responded in denial, residents knew they would not see a bright future for Hong Kong. The only way to a better society is to listen to people’s voices.
CNN news depicts that the increasingly violent protest had “many angry scuffles” throughout the territory. Police often ” shoot rubber bullets from a close range, they also used other weapons such as water cannons. Clashes escalated with more injuries.”
In The Guardian’s article an eye for an eye, a woman was “shot in the eye with a bean bag round,” she could be “blinded in one eye.” Protestors used her image as “a symbol of resistance.”
Despite the extradition bill has been withdrawn 3 months ago, the protest is still ongoing. Citizens pronounced crimes of government manipulation, police brutality, and the disregard of people’s freedoms.
Because the government made the wrong decision of not withdrawing the bill in the first place, there were massive protests. When the government responded with violent policing, civilians were harmed and they lost trust in Hong Kong’s improvement. As a result, the simple request to withdraw the bill has turned into the 5 demands.
The 5 demands consist of a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, independent investigation into police brutality, independent investigation into police brutality, retraction of criminal charges on protestors, and implementation of universal suffrage.
Hong Kong’s protest continues as residents insist they will fight for their key demands. The government also shows little to no intentions to back down.
Hong Kong is a city on the brink of total collapse. Foreign countries should use diplomatic actions and economic sanctions against forces that oppose Hong Kong’s freedom. Saving the liberty of this city would be a significant leap in global justice against governments that mistreat their people.