A few days after the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest a proposal extradition law. If the bill gets passed, it would allow Chinese authorities to order Hong Kong authorities to arrest and deport suspected criminals to mainland China.
This is a big deall because a lot of so-called «crimes» in mainland China are not crimes in Hong Kong or other free countries. This is crimes like wanting more democracy and rule of law. Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese human rights activist who was sentenced to 11 years in jail.
Liu Xiaobo wanted democracy and he is the founder of the Charter 08 campaign for constitutional reform, but the Communist Party didn`t like that at all. The Catholic bishop died in China after 14 years in prison because of his faith.
Cosmas Shi Enxiang said to have spent half of his 94 years in prison or working in forced labour camps because of his faith. This triggered renewed criticism of the Godless Communist Party`s draconian curtailment of religious freedoms.
This is what British Prime Ministe Margaret Thatcher said in a meeting with Communist leader Deng Xiaoping when they negotiated the terms over Hong Kong to China. They came to this agreement that Britain would give over Hong Kong peacefully to China, under the condition that Hong Kong would be able to retain its way of life, legal system, their economic system, freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of association.
These are fundamental freedoms, Thatcher said. Freedom of religious worship. These are fundamental freedoms, and they must continue, she said.
China agreed and said they will let them be independent and govern themselves for 50 years while they kind of adjusted to Chinese rule The system was called «One country, two systems» model and it was kind of unprecedented. And this is why the border between Hong Kong and the rest of China is so weird. It divides China from…..eh…..China. That`s odd.
The border seperates the country into two, but also because it has an expiration date: July 1st, 2047.
Until then, China has promised to stay out and let Hong Kong be highly autnomous. Hence the border. But the government of China doesn
t want to wait until 2047. Theyre ready to start erasing this border now.
They want to make Hong Kong a proper part of China and one of the ways they
re doing that is their huge bridge between mainland China and Hong Kong. It is the worlds largest sea crossing bridge and its 55 kilometers. That`s 34 miles. The bridge connects Hong Kong with Macau and mainland China.
But why do Hong Kong have a border with China if they belong to China? We need to look at the history. Britain and China fought a couple of wars over trade in the 1800s and Britain took over Hong Kong as a colony.
At this time, this was a mainly empty rocky group of islands in Southern China. Under British rule, Hong Kong
s population and economy exploded and even though Hong Kongs population was mainly made up of immigrants from China, it became a very different society than mainland China which was undergoing a communist revolution.
One of the treaties that China and Britain signed said that Hong Kong would be a British colony for 99 years, which meant that the agreement would officially expire in 1997. Thatcher and Xiaoping had a meeting in the 80`s and called the agreement «One country, two systems.»
The border in Hong Kong became a symbolic of the fact that China was some kind of its own country at the same time. Hong Kong is governed with its own values and its own system that is different than China, that is in opposition to China in some ways.
China has committed to respect Hong Kong
s autonomy until 2047, and for the first decade after the handover, they respected that promise. Hong Kong was Chinas most economically productive city. In the early 80
s, right before the handover, Hong Kong was more than a quarter of the size of Chinas entire economy. You see why China would agree to these terms. They wante to make Hong Kong happy and economically free. But then things changed.
Shanghai, Chongqing, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen was growing fast and became China`s Mega Cities. These cities eventually eclipsed Hong Kong as the economic powerhouse of China. Shenzhen is the city that shares the border with Hong Kong went from a small fishing village of around 30,000 people to a super productive economic powerhouse of over 10 million in just a few decades.
Hong Kong made about 27% of China
s GDP in the early 90s but today the number is only 3%. So, Hong Kong, once the economic powerhouse of China and the gateway to the West, became much less economically relevant.
Now, the Chinese government doesn
t have the same incentives to respect Hong Kongs autonomy. This is why we see a flood of Chinese influence in Hong Kong. You can see on the news in Hong Kong. The language of the news in Mandarin which is the official language of China.
But in Hong Kong they don
t speak Mandaring, they speak Cantonese. Dont they say if you want to kill a city, you kill its language first?
Last time people in Hong Kong protested was in 2014. The Chinese government was trying to control who could run for Hong Kong`s election in an effort to secure a pro-China candidate.
This really tuched a nerve for the locals because this was their democratic process. Something that China promised they would stay out of. So, people immediately took to the streets and protested. The movement at that time was called the «Umbrella movement.»
The Umbrella Movement was a manifestation of this growing Hong Kong identity and the resistance to Chinese government influence. People in Hong Kong see themselves as Hong Kongers and only 18% say they see themselves as Chinese.
People in Hong Kong use to meet in Victoria Park with lights. These candleholders stand as a symbol of the fight for democracy against China`s single party rule. The fight in Tiananmen Square is the same fight we see in Hong Kong today.
They are resisting a powerful China in the struggle for their own democracy and identity. People in Tiananmen Square lost the fight 30 years ago. Who will win in Hong Kong?
This is a big challenge to Hong Kong
s leadership. Especially Chief Executive Carrie Lam whos the equivalent of Hong Kong
s governor. She defended the Extradition Bill, and thats why she is so unpopular.
«I have not received any instruction or mandate from Beijing to do this bill,» she said live on TV. So, she decided that it is OK that the Communist Party in Beijing run roughshod over Hong Kong`s rule of law? This is why people want her to resign over the bill.
The Communist Party and the Mainstream/state-run Media in China blame on USA, CIA and Foreign forces. They claim «Foreign forces are seizing the opportunity to advance their own strategy to hurt China by trying to create havoc in Hong Kong.» The State-run media doesn`t specifically name who those foreign forces are.
Both, young and old people protested in Hong Kong in 2014 in the Umbrella Movement. The same happened on Sunday. Not only students, but also lawyers and business people were protesting. They did it because it is important for them and for Hong Kong. They don`t want a Godless, Communist one rule party to dictate them. They want freedom and liberty.
This GIANT protest in Hong Kong can change everything.
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