Over the past few months, the city of Hong Kong has been restless with protests and riots for the ability to remain independent from the People’s Republic of China. After Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 from the British, it has been agreed that Hong Kong would remain somewhat independent from China, practicing their own values in order to adjust their systems to transition into China until 2047. However, China increasingly showed interest in defying this agreement after creating extradition laws that would transport criminals in Hong Kong to the Chinese government; this was the catalyst for uprising. But this kind of response was anticipated for a long time through the distasteful relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China, originating years before.
As a British colony part of a deal after the Opium Wars, Hong Kong in the past 150 years has developed into a successful city championing western ideals. Due to its close proximity to the coast and South Asia, Hong Kong was always a politically desired city. Over the course of its rule under the UK, Hong Kong thrived with many trade partners and new industries. However, this lucrative asset was ultimately irresistible to Xi Jinping and the rest of the Chinese government, as their impatience prompted subtle moves towards gaining full control of Hong Kong.
The extradition law overextended Chinese authority on Hong Kong as it meant that China would have a larger influence on the criminal justice system of Hong Kong. Unlike China, because Hong Kong has had an exclusive relationship with the western world as its consistent influence of the United Kingdom has always been present. This means that the government in Hong Kong and Xi Jinping are often unable to see parallel to each other because the systems that mainland China employ are holistically different from those in Hong Kong. But the extradition laws led to outrage in Hong Kong because the Chinese motives for forcing upon these laws were obvious and were the first step to forcibly reintegrate Hong Kong into mainland China despite negotiations saying that the process would be extended over a period of 50 years.
But more recently, China has not tried to hide its true intentions to control Hong Kong after they passed a Hong Kong Security Act which would even further hinder Hong Kong’s independence. In addition to including the extradition laws, the Hong Kong Security Act allows for the Chinese government to radically punish citizens for minor infractions in the name of “counter-terrorism”. The main problem with this law is the fact that the rights that the Hong Kong citizens were able to exercise would suddenly disappear, as the law fundamentally bans all forms of freedom of expression. Although Beijing has stated that they would respect the rights of Hong Kong citizens, this statement seems to just be another lie that the Chinese government employed. The days of Hong Kong as a democratic, free state seem limited, as there are no countries who have the jurisdiction to step in internationally. The only remaining hope seems to remain in the fierce spirit of Hong Kong protestors and a willingness from the Chinese government to change.
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