Throughout history, democracies have worked and fallen. Venezuela and North Korea are examples of this. Great Britain gained control of Hong Kong on January 25, 1841, and maintained Hong Kong until 1997. Britain transfers Hong Kong back to China with the condition that the people of Hong Kong will have some control of their land, until 2047 when China has the right to gain full control of the city. Hong Kong and some other regions of China demonstrate aspects of liberal democracy. While Great Britain is a democracy, they influenced the way Hong Kong controls its system, but having that influence in the middle of China can lead to a problem. It is important Hong Kong protects their rights and their future hopes for democracy.
In 2018, a couple from Hong Kong goes on a trip to Taiwan, but the boyfriend is the only one to return. The girlfriend, Poon Hiu-Wang, is murdered by her boyfriend, Chan Tong-Kai, on Taiwan’s territory. Allegedly, Chan confesses to the murder and brings her body back in a suitcase to Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s courts could not prosecute Chan because of the couple being outside of Chinese borders and Taiwan could not indict any charges either. This created an Extradition Bill between the two, which allows suspects to face trial in Hong Kong or Taiwan. The problem started when it involved China as a country in the bill making many citizens concerned. This reignited the pro-democracy movement for Hong Kong and the bill created the protests happening today.
Hong Kong has control of their immediate sources such as economy, polices force, and justice system, but China somewhat controls Hong Kong’s political system. The Executive Leader of Hong Kong is picked by a committee approved by China’s government. This causes corruption in the wants of Hong Kong and their political system because they do not have full control. Hong Kong has a Legislative council that consists of seventy members. Half of those members are elected politicians, but the other half is reserved for politicians in education, finance, and health. The issue with the Legislative Council is many of the sectors in the other half have business ties to mainland China. This situation has and could continue to push for pro-China laws putting a setback on where Hong Kong wants to be as a city and also causing corruption within the two sides.
The protesters have announced they want this bill removed, start an investigation on the police in Hong Kong for the arrests accruing, and Hong Kong gaining full independence from China. The resistance occurring have caused negative and positive impacts. A positive is Hong Kong revoked the bill in September 2019, but a negative is the damage caused to cities and even the Legislative Council building. To the people protesting in Hong Kong, protecting their rights and their wants are now a priority.
With the community understanding what they are representing, it helps history not to repeat itself. For example, in the reading, “The Twisted Path from the Future of Freedom,” by Fareed Zakaria, he explains the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Germany went from a democracy to a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler. Hitler was brought in as a chancellor under Von Hindenburg. With the small amount of power Hitler accepted, he turned it into the complete opposite of what the people of Germany anticipated. It started by taking away their freedoms and creating anti-Jewish laws. In September 2018, Under the Chinese President Xi Jinping, human rights watch report found the using of brutal coercive practices against Muslims with the use of murder, torture, and sexual assault inside the camps set up for Muslims. These are called the Xinjiang re-education camps.” The idea of the camps is to “rewrite Uighur Muslims’ thinking, erase their Islamic beliefs, and reshape their identities.” Not stating China has the intention to do anything traumatic, but if you take away rights from people and mimic a horrific part of history, how can they protect themselves against a government? The anxiety of Hong Kong’s citizens advances causing these protests to protect what they have now and that’s freedom.
Hong Kong has made it known to China about their independent want, but China does not approve of this. President Xi Jinping states, “Those who engage in separatists activities in any part of China will be smashed into pieces.” Of course, two sides to any problem are going to have their disagreements, but with the year 2047 approaching, how can the people of Hong Kong be optimistic about a potential move by China’s government? With the evidence and events continuing to occur in China, Hong Kong has the right to stand up for what they believe in and should continue. Democracy involves the whole population, not selected individuals.
Work Cite: Picture: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/china-defends-bloody-crackdown-tiananmen-protests-190602083719934.html