From an extradition bill to a political crisis: A guide to the HK protests

25-Nov-2019 Intellasia | CNN | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong has been rocked by pro-democracy, anti-government protests for more than five months now, with escalating violence and anger on all sides. What began as peaceful mass marches has exploded into the city’s biggest political crisis in modern times. It’s also become a geopolitical mess with worldwide implications. Companies, brands, politicians and celebritieseven LeBron Jameshave been caught in the crossfire. Nobody is quite sure where the protests are headed, but there’s no clear end in sight.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Hong Kong protests.

Why are people protesting?

The protests began in June with one main objectivefor the government to withdraw a controversial bill that would have allowed extradition of fugitives to mainland China. Critics worried Beijing could use the bill to prosecute people for political reasons under China’s opaque legal system.

Unlike other cities in China, which are tightly governed by the authoritarian central government, Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous city with its own legal and political systems.

Protesters feared the bill would allow China to encroach on these rare freedoms. As the stand-off with the government stretched on, peaceful mass marches increasingly descended into violent clashes with policeand the movement quickly grew to include five major demands:

Fully withdraw the extradition bill

Set up an independent inquiry to probe police brutality

Withdraw a characterisation of early protests as “riots”

Release those arrested at protests

Carry out universal suffrage in Hong Kong

The broader demands reflect a long-standing call for full democracy, which Hong Kong does not haveits leader is chosen by a tiny election committee dominated by pro-establishment, pro-Beijing voters.

By the time Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam agreed to the first demand, withdrawing the bill, it was too late to quell the movement’s momentum.


Category: Hong Kong

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