The Hong Kong protests have continued for the past six months, since June. The demonstrations began when residents protested against the Extradition Bill where people who had participated in criminal activities were to be sent to other places where the Extradition Bill did not apply. One of these places was the mainland of China where the Communist Party controls the government. If this Extradition Bill was passed, the mainland of China would become even more powerful and the people of Hong Kong would have lost some autonomy. The protesters continue to challenge the city’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, to meet their demands. She is in a very difficult position, trying to handle the crowd. Lam stated, ‘“In recent days, the people have lost trust in the police and the government. This is hard to fathom but it is a reality….In a time when trust is lacking, we need to have a dialogue with one another”’ (May & Jacobs, 2019). Although the Extradition Bill was not passed, the protests have continued into December in an effort to promote democracy in Hong Kong, starting out peaceful and growing more violent. Additionally, the protests are causing Hong Kong’s economy to sink. On December 1st, protesters thanked President Trump for signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which was readily supported by the U.S. legislature, and for supporting Hong Kong. They also marched to the government headquarters, insisting the government to stop the police force from using tear gas during the protests. Then on December 6th, more protesters joined, standing firm on their message by participating in a rally in Central, Hong Kong. On December 8th, the protests went to 800,000 people, according to the Civil Human Rights Front. In response to the protests, China has banned U.S. military warships and aircrafts from arriving at Hong Kong. The U.S. on the other hand, is trying as much as possible to stay out of the whole issue. In fact, President Trump signed another bill that prevented the U.S. from selling items such as tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong for the protests. This is due to the fact that if the U.S. creates tense conflicts with China by supporting Hong Kong, then trades between U.S. and China would not go smoothly. Both of the countries require trade from the other one and so the U.S. is trying as much as possible to avoid criticizing China but at the same time, trying to show Hong Kong that the U.S. supports them. In fact, President Trump stated, ‘“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi [Jinping], China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all”’ (Leff & Feng, 2019).
By Saivarshini Rishi