Hong Kong Protests

Citizens of one of China's most well known cities seek freedom.


Brittnay Batalini

Hong Kong's coastal location has put in a very tense hot spot for changing culture.

Brittnay Batalini
Hong Kong’s coastal location has put in a very tense hot spot for changing culture.

Hong Kong may be far from home but the issues are very serious. Protesters are swarming the streets of Hong Kong.  The issues started when a bill was proposed by the government called the Fugitive Offenders Amendment. This bill would allow local authorities to extradite fugitives who are wanted in territories with which they have no extradition treaties, such as Taiwan and mainland China. Many Hong Kong citizens do not want to be included or have anything to do with mainland Chinese jurisdiction.

The violent protests started in June this year and continue to occur, only getting more violent. This is a very important issue to think about.  These people are voicing their rights, just as Americans had to do at the birth of our nation, and still do to this day thanks to the First Amendment guarantee of the freedom of speech.

The busiest street in the city is Ye Woo street.

The violence of these protests have caused more than two thousand injuries . In addition, more than two thousand people have been arrested during these violent riots. While these people protested the bill, Chief Executive Carrie Lam continued to push for it, which only increased the violence and subsequent oppression. In response, people of all types united to demonstrate, including gangs, locals, the homeless and upper-class citizens . These protests have claimed the lives of eight people, in suicide. Most of these people left chilling notes for loved ones and the city itself. One note coldly stated, ‘What Hong Kong needs is a revolution.’ Another one of the first victims of suicide wore a coat that read, ‘Brutal police are cold blooded,’ followed by ‘Carrie Lam is killing Hong Kong.’

People around the world have honored this person. In Prague an artist painted this person on a very sacred wall, the Lennon Wall, in the Czech Republic. However the bills supporters say that it is necessary to plug a loophole in current laws and protects the city from becoming a sanctuary for international fugitives. Government officials have promised not to harm these criminals, but send them to China’s mainland.

Although these protests may be thousands of miles away from home, some locals had opinions on the issue. Barbara Norton, a well-respected teacher at Lafayette Highschool,  said, “Yes I respect what they’re doing by protesting for their rights but it’s not a democracy, a lot innocents are going to get killed. It’s happened before.” Another well-known history teacher at Lafayette, Sean Smith voiced his opinion on the subject, saying, “China and Hong Kong’s government is being way too restrictive. They deserve their rights and their government should grant them that.”

Brittnay Batalini
Sean Smith talking to his students about the current protests in Hong Kong and how it’s affecting the U.S. today.

These protests are nothing America isn’t familiar with.  We have had many protests over bills and rights in our past and we still have them currently. On that subject Norton and Smith agreed, “It would be a peaceful protest, it would eventually die out and not matter.” Many people in the United States believe it’s our duty to protect people who are fighting for their basic human rights around the globe, but some also believe we should stay out and away from potential foreign conflicts. Teachers Norton and Smith both agree that we shouldn’t get involved but also that, “it should be known that we support the protesters for advocating for their rights as they should.”