Hong Kong Protests Highlight Year-Long Tension

 Since the beginning of June, Hong Kong has been the site of massive unrest. Hong Kong belongs to China, but it has its own currency, political system and most importantly, cultural identity. Most people who live in Hong Kong do not consider themselves Chinese, but rather Hong Kongers. Hong Kong used to be a colony of the United Kingdom, so it adopted their old legal practice. Its de facto constitution has guarantees of rights, like freedom of speech, that are unavailable to China’s Mainlanders. The protests began because an extradition bill was in motion to be passed. This bill would have made it possible for criminals living in Hong Kong to be handed over to China, if the crimes had been committed on the Mainland. The concern was political enemies of China would be targeted and treated unfairly in the communist governing body. After an incident of tear gas thrown by the police blinding a protestor in one eye, the protests changed from being just about the bill to the larger issue of democracy. This change in focus caused an escalation of the protests and eventually the temporary shut down of Hong Kong International Airport. The protesters are still fighting to keep their home safe, and free from the Communist influence of the Mainland. 

By Eliana Sauer

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