The semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong has been rocked by protests recently after a controversial extradition bill, one that allows ‘suspects’ to be taken back to mainland China for questioning, has reopened old wounds and grievances.
The former British colony, which was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997, has endured an uneasy relationship with the mainland while attempting to keep its special status in a “one country, two systems,” agreement.
Attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to further impose its will on the city have resulted in pro-democracy protests and civil disobedience, with activists most recently finding their voice in the 2014 ‘Umbrella Movement’ which occupied large parts of Hong Kong for 79 days.
Now Hong Kongers are out on the streets again, heading out in even larger numbers this time. It is estimated that around 2 million people, 25% of the population, have taken part in the protests so far, and they have forced both the local government and Beijing to rethink their stance.
These are no wild, violent insurrections though. Hong Kongers do their protests differently! Showing discipline, unity and respect for their city, this is an expression of peaceful people power at its finest. Something that we could all learn from when dealing with oppressive policies from those in power.
Scroll down to check out how Hong Kongers are successfully and respectfully standing up for their civil rights, and let us know what you think in the comments!
Image credits: hoccgoomusic
1. Hong Kong Students Studying For Their Finals While Protesting
Exam time is coming up and while Hong Kongers need to fight for their collective autonomy, they also have to take care of their individual futures too. Combining their responsibilities to their city with their need to succeed at school, these students were able to show their support without interrupting their exam prep.
The fear among many Hong Kongers about the introduction of this extradition bill is that authorities will be able to target political challengers and critics, a further erosion of their freedoms. The conviction rates are extremely high in mainland China, with denial of representation, torture and arbitrary detention also common. If a pro-democracy campaigner can be taken to Beijing and swiftly disappeared without trial, where does that leave Hong Kongers in the fight for their future?
Supporters of the proposed law argue that it will protect Hong Kong from becoming a haven for criminals, out of the reach of Chinese authorities. State-owned newspaper state-owned China Daily said: “Any fair-minded person would deem the amendment bill a legitimate, sensible and reasonable piece of legislation that would strengthen Hong Kong’s rule of law and deliver justice.”
2. Hong Kong Protestors Giving Way To Ambulance Like Crossing The Red Sea
3. Level Of Tidiness In Hong Kong After A Protest Of 1.3 Million People!
Hong Kong has been fighting a slow, methodical takeover by the Chinese government; according to the Guardian: “Hong Kong’s top political leader is not elected by ordinary voters but by a 1,200-strong election committee accountable to Beijing. Half of its legislature are chosen through indirect electoral systems that favour pro-Beijing figures.”
Mainland China’s increasing political, economic and cultural influence in Hong Kong has caused a great deal of worry. Property prices are soaring as wealthy investors from the mainland move in while local press outlets have been increasingly brought under Beijing’s control. The largely youthful protesters on the streets of Hong Kong are facing the might of one of the richest and strongest countries on Earth, but they are facing up to the challenge with courage, respect and integrity.
4. Hong Kong Protestors Cleaning Up The Field After The Protest
A notable feature of the protests has been the eagerness of those who take part to clean up after themselves. Large scale protests like these can quickly turn into riots, with more extreme elements of society taking advantage of the chaos to loot, steal and vandalize property.
These protests seem to have largely avoided this phenomenon as they are essentially self-policing, a perfect example of people looking out for each other to protect the greater good. They love their city and show it the respect it deserves, unlike recent riots in Paris, London or Athens, just to name a few.
5. Protesters Shield Themselves With Umbrellas Against Pepper Spray Used By The Police Outside The Government Headquarters In Hong Kong
6. Volunteers In Ponchos Marked With A Blue Cross, Wearing Surgical Masks And Goggles, Form A Human Wall To Protect The First Aid Area Right Outside Admiralty Station, Across The Street From The Hong Kong Central Government Offices
7. Impressive How Thoughtful And Organised These Protestors Are. Bottles Of Water Are Left Along Pavements And Other Strategic Areas So People Can Douse Themselves, And Put Out Teargas Grenades When Police Move In
8. We’re Hong Kong People, We’re Crazy People. There’re 2 Millions People Protesting But Still Very Disciplined
9. A Small Crowd Is Back Outside The Hong Kong Government Offices…to Clean Up The Rubbish. To Sort Out Recyclables And Unused Materials, And Clean Up The Rubbish. Incredible
10. Hong Kong Press Wears Helmets, Eye Masks And Reflective Vests To Express Discontent Towards Local Police’s Actions