Protester’s resilience powers the fight for a better Hong Kong


Lam Yik Fei

Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Scarlet Ruiz, Staff Writer

As Hong Kong protester’s ongoing fight continues, the direction shifts from the removal of a bill, to the future of Hong Kong itself.

Lam Yik Fei
Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

What started off as calm protest, have turned violent as both sides get restless./Lam Yik Fei for The New York Time

 What had once been a calm protest towards the removal of a proposed extradition bill slowly escalated into a three-month movement for a new Hong Kong.

Protests first began to fight against the proposal of a new extradition bill. According to Vox, this bill was formed after a man had gruesomely strangled his pregnant wife in Taiwan in 2018, who then fled to Hong Kong. But since Hong Kong doesn’t have formal extradition laws with Taiwan, Chan Ton-Kai couldn’t be sent back to Taiwan to face trial.

The Hong Kong government used this case as a basis to begin conversation regarding new extradition treaties which would allow case-by-case situations with countries that do not have formal extradition treaties with Hong Kong.

One of the most prominent countries to be included in this new treaty is China, a country notoriously known for imprisoning its citizens for disagreeing or talking bad about the Chinese government. 

China has been accused of detaining Hong Kongers, which they shouldn’t be able to do since Hong Kong isn’t within Chinese borders. This new bill would allow China to detain any Hong Kongers. With China’s reputation, protesters fear that China can and will imprison anyone of them who have spoken badly, protested, challenged, or disagreed with the Chinese government.

This is what the protesters have been fighting against, and they have begun to get restless.

Current Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, had been ignoring the protester’s demand and had pushed for the bill to go through the Hong Kong Legislature. But on June 12, almost a million Hong Kongers flooded the streets which delayed the debate which would have pushed the bill through the legislature.

As the protests continue, Hong Kong protesters have listed five demands that they are looking to get from these protests. 

According to Vox, their five demands include: getting rid of the extradition bill for good. The government withdraws its use of the word “riot” since rioting in Hong Kong calls for 10 years in jail. They are also calling for the police to drop charges and release anybody imprisoned during the riot. 

The last two demands are what changed this protest from the elimination of the bill to a fight for a better Hong Kong. They are demanding that the government reevaluate its police enforcement and tactics, and are calling for universal suffrage for all Hong Kongers.

Although protesters refused to remain silent, almost all worldwide powers condemned the violence and have given mainly neutral statements on the state of Hong Kong.

The actions of protesters question if all this is worth it and if any change will come from it. As protesters continue to voice their demands, it’s hard to say if anything will change for the better of Hong Kong.

Many people looking in from the outside don’t think any major change will stem from this. 

“I think to say there’ll be a long term change in Hong Kong, there would have to be a long term change in China,” said  Government and Economics teacher, Rob Allen. “The authoritarian regime in China seems only to be tightening its grip with like the social credit system, with the authoritarian measures there are acting for the Great Firewall, as they call it.”

According to CNN, as of Sept. 4, 2019, Lam has called for the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill that was the flame that ignited this fight. But many protesters are still waiting for the other four demands to be met. Protesters are saying that Lam’s attempts to resolve problems are “too little, too late”.

Even with the bill being withdrawn, many still believe that the protesters aren’t done fighting for what they believe in. 

Personally I don’t have a doubt in my mind that the protest will not stop. I think that because of the recent light shed to this specific event in Hong Kong, there are a lot of new problems that are now coming into question,” said sophomore Liz Trejo. “I think that the citizens of Hong Kong will continue fighting for all their rights and won’t be satisfied with just one won battle in a sea of war.”

Though this is a major turning point, many protesters are saying that this is just an attempt from Lam to calm down protesters. But they aren’t backing down, and this may help the Hong Kong government and others like China push the narrative that the protesters are rioting and are asking for too much.

For now, nobody knows what the future of Hong Kong will be.