City of Tears

The Hong Kong Protests

City+of+Tears

Coral CwmCwlamare, Staff Writer

People march the streets of Hong Kong, masks covering their faces. By this simple action, they are putting themselves in danger in order to speak out against the Chinese government. This prompted China to send law enforcement in an attempt to end the protests using tear gas and other methods. These protests are deeply rooted in the history of Hong Kong and with each one a symbol has emerged. Umbrellas became important in these protests as they are used to hide the faces of protesters from cameras to prevent identification and have now became a symbol to represent the protests.

     On April 3, 2019, China proposed an extradition bill that would have Hong Kong citizens potentially deported to mainland China to face trial under Chinese law instead of Hong Kong law. Many believed that this would infringe upon Hong Kong’s status as partially separated from mainland China.

“In the United States, there will be a day of protest. It is almost always one and done,” Peace Collective Adviser Blain Willard said. “What has amazed me about Hong Kong and other protests around the world is that they show up day in and day out and they are very prolonged.”

     Hong Kong, while being part of China, has close ties to the United Kingdom due to its time as a British territory, causing Hong Kong to adopt British ideas. This history with the United Kingdom has impacted Hong Kong as the United Kingdom helped to keep Hong Kong’s democracy as a result of a deal with China stating that the Chinese government can not interfere with Hong Kong’s democracy for 20 years. While this has protected Hong Kong in the past that time period ended in 2017.

“The commuinist government of China seems to have an interest for a more concentrated effort to control [Hong Kong],” World History teacher Todd Zimmermann said.

     During the length of time that these protests have occurred, few countries have spoken out about the Hong Kong protests. Britain, while not playing a very active role in the protests, has spoken out by threatening sanctions on China if they interfere with Hong Kong’s democracy.

     On October 14, 2019, the United States house passed the Human Rights and Democracy bill, which exempts Hong Kong from the sanctions on China and allows people charged in the protests to get US visas. After an 18 year old student was shot while protesting, the European Union said that the situation needed to de escalate.

     This protest has not been the first time that China has used brutality to quell the crowds in the streets.

“[…]The Chinese government responded with absolute brute force when students were protesting,” history teacher June Morris said, “[…] Students were camping in Tiananmen Square and [the Chinese government] sent tanks through, more than one time, and if you didn’t clear out you run a risk of being crushed.”

     Amnesty International, an organization that works to improve human rights around the world, has been involved with the protests in Hong Kong a great deal. On September 19, 2019, they released a report based on their own investigations. What they found was evidence of torture done by Hong Kong’s police, as well as the police not following procedure, forcing people arrested to strip searches.

     On October 15, 2019, Jimmy Sham, a human rights activist was attacked by several people with hammers and was hospitalized for head injuries. Amnesty International, the next day, suggested to Hong Kong Police to investigate it thoroughly due to the political climate of Hong Kong. 

     Many companies, including the NBA and Blizzard, have attempted to remain neutral in regards to the protests. Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets’ General Manager, on October 7, 2019 tweeted in support of Hong Kong protesters. Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, said that China asked for Morey to be fired but China denies this was the case. Video game company, Blizzard Entertainment has banned three players because of the protests. On October 8, 2019, Blizzard banned three Hearthstone players during an official live stream for holding up a poster telling players not to support Blizzard Entertainment, after a popular player was banned for speaking out in order to support Hong Kong protesters. Vans, the popular shoe company held a shoe design competition and removed entries due to references to Hong Kong protesters. 

     The Hong Kong protests have been going on for a very long time and have impacted public relations between many countries and companies. With the bill passing in the United States House, China has promised to find countermeasures for them. The NBA has lost massive amounts of money due to worsening relations with China because of Morey’s tweet. While the protests are occurring in Hong Kong, they still impact the United States and our interactions with foreign countries.

 

Timeline

April 3, 2019 

  • Chinese government proposed extradition bill.

June 9, 2019

  • The first major protest occurred.

June 12, 2019

  • Police started to use tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters.

June 15, 2019

  • Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, indefinitely postponed extradition bill.

July 1, 2019

  • Protesters storm Legislative Council.

August 12, 2019

  • Chinese government calls the protests an act of terrorism.

September 4, 2019

  • Carrie Lam withdraws extradition bill.

October 1, 2019

  • 18 year old student shot by live round by police.

October 4, 2019

  • Chinese government bans masks.

October 14, 2019

  • US house passes bill to support protesters.

October 15, 2019

  • Human rights activist, Jimmy Sham, was attacked and hospitalized.

 

Reflection

I learned never just rely on a single source. That was the downfall for this article but with quick thinking manged to find another. This was my first major story so it a large learning curve but I learned AP styles. Next time I would find multiple sources who have lived in Hong Kong.

10/23/19