The people of Hong Kong are now embroiled in a profound, unprecedented civil uprising against the controversial extradition bill that threatens to ship citizens accused of crimes in China off to the mainland to be tried and sentenced.
Anybody who knows the horrific history of the Chinese justice system knows that this extradition bill puts the democracy that Hong Kong enjoyed under British administration to the guillotine. From confining Muslims and Falun Gong to concentration camps and allegedly harvesting their organs, to imprisoning journalists for decades for criticizing the government. If you’re especially unlucky, you just get ‘disappeared.’
Liberty would be replaced by the all-seeing, all-knowing Chinese Communist Party, infamous for disappearing political dissidents and forcibly placing Uyghur Muslims into re-education camps in an attempt to stamp out radicalism. The bill is the first of many changes expected in Hong Kong’s future. Ever since the British conceded Hong Kong to China, beginning the “One country, two systems” policy, the city and its people were placed on a slow-moving, but inevitable journey that ends with Hong Kong’s absorption by China.
In accordance with the “One country, two systems” principle agreed between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China, the socialist system of the People’s Republic of China would not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years. This would have left Hong Kong unchanged until 2047.Wikipedia, “Handover of Hong Kong”
Official sources in the Hong Kong police have confirmed at least 500 arrests since the beginning of June. As for anti-protester measures, they claim at least 1,000 teargas grenades were launched, and at least 160 rubber bullets were fired at protesters. Those numbers could double within a week.
Citizens in Hong Kong have begun a general strike, now 14,000 strong, targeting the city’s industrial infrastructure. They reason that if crowds of millions can’t get this bill withdrawn, then they will shut the city down. This has only furthered tensions with the government. Politician Junius Ho called for the deaths of pro-independence activists: “If those who are pro-independence lead to the subversion of the fate of the country; with Hong Kong and the 1.3 billion people in the motherland having to pay a huge price, why shouldn’t these people be killed?”
Protesters are wising up to police tactics. The Guardian reports that demonstrators in the streets are now working together using ‘flash mob tactics’ to evade authorities.
“Ahead of a city-wide strike and simultaneous protests in seven districts, on Sunday night protesters evaded and frustrated the police by holding flashmob demonstrations. Groups of protesters scattered, switching locations at the last minute and disappearing before riot police were able to arrive en masse.”Lily Kuo, The Guardian
An anonymous spokesperson for the strike’s leadership, providing only the name ‘Chan,’ says this strike is the only way forward, as the Hong Kong government “did not pay heed to people’s demands.”
“Various sectors have expressed their views in most peaceful ways. But, the government did not listen to them,” Chan says. Not only has the government failed to listen to the protesters, they have sent police after them with violent, non-lethal weapons, and condoned the mass gathering of thugs in white shirts who ambushed, attacked, and hospitalized the peaceful Hong Kongers, while the police closed their doors and ignored emergency phone calls.
Chan’s excerpt ends with a sentiment that tugs at the heart-strings of the American spirit, echoing our Declaration of Independence. “A lot of protesters were attacked with violence, and persecuted by a tyranny … When society has become like this, we need to paralyse it temporarily to force the government to face the problems.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”United States Declaration of Independence, 1776
Despite the fact that the Hong Kong government has voiced opposition to Chinese military intervention in the protests, PLA forces have been documented amassing on the border, and Beijing is not being coy about it.
You can receive live updates on the situation in Hong Kong from CNN, here.