People in Hong Kong are protesting – but what for? Is it for democracy, or rights? Do you know if Hong Kong a part of China? Or who rules there?
So, very quickly – let’s understand the history.
The United Kingdom ruled in Hong Kong (as a colony) since 1841, when it occupied the area during the First Opium War (the Opium war was fought between China and Britain, in which Britain won). As part of the defeat, in 1842, China agreed to cede the island of Hong Kong to the British.
The United Kingdom then took control of the Hong Kong and in 1898 it signed a treaty (agreement) with China in which Hong Kong was leased to Britain for 99 years. That ended on July 1, 1997. Ever since then there has been off and on unrest in Hong Kong, as its people do not want to be governed by authoritarian China. Hong Kong is called SAR (Special Administrative Region). This is part of China’s, ‘One Country, Two Systems’’. It basically means that Hong Kong would maintain its political and economic independence for 50 years after 1997, that it until 2047.
The problem is that China is trying to control Hong Kong and Hong Kong’s people do not want that – they believe in freedom and democracy.
Why are these protests happening?
The latest protests happened because Hong Kong’s government wants to bring in a law that would let them extradite (forcibly send out) people to any country, including to China. That means that if the government wants to extradite someone to China they can do so. So, if someone is protesting against China or its policies and the government does not like it, they can, if they want (and, of course, they will have to make a case for it) send them to China to face charges there.
The people are angry because China does not guarantee freedom like Hong Kong and if the law id made, it could be used to scare people.
WORDS TO KNOW:
Treaty: a formal agreement between states.
Extradition: to hand over (a person accused or convicted of a crime) to the foreign state in which the crime was committed.