| Hi Taylor
- What's up with the protests in Hong Kong? Feels like they've been
going on for a long time now and I'm not really sure I understand
what it's all about. - Anthony
Hi Anthony - You're right, the people of Hong Kong have been
taking to the streets for over six months. Unless you're following
closely, it's hard to keep track of why it all started and where it's
headed. I'll try to give a condensed recap.
For starters, to understand any of it you need to know about the semi-autonomous
relationship Hong Kong has with mainland China. After ending its run
as a British colony in 1997, Hong Kong was absorbed by China but with
a "one country, two systems" arrangement, allowing Hong Kong to operate
democratically, unlike the autocratic system under the Communist Party
of China (CPC). The people in Hong Kong have far more rights and freedoms
than the rest of the Chinese.
Back in April, an extradition bill was introduced that would have
had certain criminals in Hong Kong transported to the mainland for
their trials. Protests started immediately since this kind of law
would undermine the separate governing and legal systems, plus it
seemed to many like another way for the Chinese government to crackdown
The CPC sent tanks and troops in a show of intimidation as the protests
grew to the massive numbers you may have seen on TV. The bill ended
up getting suspended, but most people in opposition assumed it would
just come back to the floor as soon as the resistance died down, so
protesting efforts continued and amplified until we got to August
when one of the Hong Kong airports was shut down briefly.
In October and now into mid-November, violence has spiked and a few
protestors have been seriously injured. While the bill was officially
abandoned in September, the ongoing protests have become more about
the rights of assembly and free speech.
We're hearing a lot about Hong Kong because it's such a clear clash
of democracy and authoritarianism. While one specific bill incited
all this, there are much bigger issues at the core of the debate.
With China's economy having so much global sway and so many direct
links to our own markets (as we have seen over the past few months
with the trade war), we're seeing a mix of reactions when it comes
to how people respond to the actions taken by the Chinese government.
Now, since a handful of non-violent protestors have been met with
violence, it's hard to imagine things calming down anytime soon. I'm
praying for the injured and hoping that a peaceful resolution is reached
before things escalate further. Democracy is a fragile thing and it's
a little unnerving to see these struggles happening within a global
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