Hong Kong Protests Leaves the Region in Turmoil

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Hong Kong Protests Leaves the Region in Turmoil

Ian Dahl, Contributor

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Recently, a series of riots have broken out throughout the region of Hong Kong protesting against China’s extradition and for a more “pro-democracy” government for the citizens in Hong Kong. A long history of conflict between the Chinese government and the Hong Kong government and their citizens has lead to many protests throughout the years, but these riots are the biggest ones yet. Hong Kong still has many freedoms and rights that China does not have but according to critics in Hong Kong, those rights and freedoms are declining. Rights groups in Hong Kong have accused the Chinese government of meddling with Hong Kong’s democratic affairs and by pressuring independent artists and writers to censor their works. Not only that, while most citizens living in Hong Kong are ethnically Chinese, most people from Hong Kong do not identify as Chinese. Only 11% of people from the University of Hong Kong call themselves Chinese and 71% do not feel proud being citizens of China. Years of political strife between China and Hong Kong has finally exploded into massive protests from the citizens of Hong Kong.

The protests are currently being handled by the government in Beijing, the capital of China, but the protests are getting increasingly violent between the protesters and the police. The protests on Monday, August 5th, left Hong Kong in turmoil as protesters sieged police stations and barricaded roads, blocking commute and the police as a result. A strike took place the same day, bringing work to a standstill as the protesters were joined by workers of all kinds, such as security workers, teachers, and about 2,300 aviation workers, leading to the cancellation of 224 flights at the airport. Trains used for commuting were shut down by protesters forcing their umbrellas and arms into the doors of the train to keep them open. The police attempted to end protest demonstrations in seven different districts in Hong Kong. According to Hong Kong police, 148 protesters were arrested on Monday “in the largest single-day crackdown yet.”

On Tuesday, August 6th, warnings were made by Beijing government to the protesters warning them to “not play with fire”. Yang Guang, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, warns the protesters that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” In Yang’s address, he attacked the “small number of radical protesters” who have assaulted policemen with items like bricks and set fires at protest sites, calling out such actions as a serious danger for the public. Yang warns such people that “they will have to face justice some day in the future for their shameless acts.”

The tensions between the Beijing and Hong Kong governments are increasingly expanding outside of China’s border, becoming more global. The Chinese foreign ministry blamed the U.S. government of being an influencer behind the protests in Hong Kong since early June. Foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said that there are “signs of foreign forces behind the protests”, whether this is true or not is yet to be confirmed by U.S. officials.