The Hong Kong protest explained

What is Hong Kong’s status?

Hong Kong is a former British colony handed back to China in 1997.

It is run under a “one country, two systems” agreement that guarantees it a level of autonomy.

It has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China. Those rights including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are protected.

But those freedoms – the Basic Law – expire in 2047 and it is not clear what Hong Kong’s status will then be.

Proposal to Allow Extradition to China Introduced

Lam’s government proposed legal changes to allow the transfer of criminal suspects between jurisdictions with which it lacks formal extradition agreements—including mainland China. Activists, lawyers and members of the business community warned that exposing Hong Kong residents to China’s legal system could risk the city’s autonomy and status as a financial hub.

Hong Kong’s protests started in June against proposals to allow extradition to mainland China.

Critics feared this could undermine the city’s judicial independence and endanger dissidents.

A former British colony, Hong Kong has some autonomy and more rights than the mainland under a “one country, two systems” deal.

The extradition bill which triggered the first protest was introduced in April. It would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, under certain circumstances.

Opponents said this risked exposing Hong Kongers to unfair trials and violent treatment. They also argued the bill would give China greater influence over Hong Kong and could be used to target activists and journalists.

Students and demonstrators held hands to form human chains, chanting “Add oil!” and singing “Do You Hear The People Sing” in the early morning before classes began. Chains formed near various schools on both sides of the harbor, including in Midlevels—the first protest in this quiet and hilly neighborhood popular with expats.

Do You Hear the People Sing?
Lyrics from Les Miserables the Musical

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?

Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France!

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!