Written by: Aanya Krishna – a grade 6 student.
The island of Hong Kong has seen numerous violent protests all over the streets since early 2019. This is because China is trying to impose a new security law titled ‘The Extradition Bill’. The law states that all Hong Kong citizens will have to follow the economic, legal, and political systems of China. The bill would allow Hong Kong to extradite (which means – to hand over a person accused or convicted of a crime) people wanted in other countries and territories for criminal activity to China. Essentially this means that the ‘One Country Two Systems’ principle that Hong Kong had with China (which was to be followed till 2047) would no longer remain in force.
Why are there protests and why are the citizens of Hong Kong worried?
The people of Hong Kong are protesting because they are concerned that the new law would diminish the freedom and rights they have enjoyed so far, leading to an end of democracy. Citizens see the new law as a means to tighten China’s power over the city.
Almost 1/7th of Hong Kong’s population has been protesting on the streets. The protests have started getting out of control and the police have had to take some serious actions. The protesters use umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray and many have been injured and killed by tear gas. The police have now even gone to the extent of shooting people but the protests still continue.
What’s the history of Hong Kong?
Hong Kong was ruled by the British until 1997. This was the result of the First Opium War that was fought between China and Britain. It ended in 1841 with the British taking control over the island of Hong Kong. They were to rule until 1997.under the Treaty of Nanking.
In 1997 Hong Kong was returned back to China by the British. At the time of the handover, China had proclaimed that Hong Kong would have its own political, legal, and economic systems independent of mainland China. This was not supposed to be the case – according to the agreement, China was not meant to rule Hong Kong directly until 2047. And now the imposition of the new law seems to be a contradiction and reflective of China going back on its promise.
Has this happened before?
The Chinese government first sought to introduce this law in 2003. This lead to several protests which resulted in the Chinese government shelving this law at that time. Post that they have tried to reintroduce the law but each time they have been met with severe opposition by the citizens of Hong Kong.
Is Hong Kong now a part of China?
Hong Kong is a part of China but it follows its own economic, legal, and political systems. It followed what is called – One country Two Systems and is actually called Hong Kong (SAR), which stands for Special Administrative Region. Though the government is trying hard for Hong Kong to follow China’s systems once again they are finding it hard to do so because of all the protests by the citizens. For now, Hong Kong is still following its own laws and not of China.
Compiled by: Aanya Krishna
Aanya is a grade 6 student. A voracious reader she also loves to draw and doodle. Like her whole family she is also a big foodie!
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