Hong Kong Has a Right to be Angry


Studio Incendo

A part of the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests, the Tsuen Wan March took place on August 25, 2019.

Oct.1 2019 while a celebration in mainland China was going on, an 18-year-old in Hong Kong was shot in the chest by police while protesting. The Hong Kong protests began when the government proposed the extradition bill in February 2019 which would allow criminals from Hong Kong to be forced into a trial in mainland China. The now aborted bill caused massive protests from Hong Kong citizens and received international attention. The protests many times turned violent with police firing live rounds, tear gas, and water cannons.

Yet it appears that the protests have prevailed-for now. On Oct 23 2019 the bill was withdrawn. The demands of the protesters have increased though. Many Hong Kong citizens are now demanding five things: withdraw the bill, Carrie Lam to step down, an inquiry into police violence, arrested protesters be released, and greater democratic freedoms. Are these demands valid? Yes, they are. Hong Kong was a British colony that was handed over to China in 1997 but was promised to be under the Basic Law. Basic Law, which lasts 50 years, gives Hong Kong citizens the right to protest, free speech, and free press. These are some of the basic rights needed in a democracy. In fact, the Basic Law “guaranteed” so many rights it is often referred to as “one country but two systems.” 

Yet it is clear that China has no regard for these rights that were promised. China has done mass arrests of pro-democracy activists and protesters in Hong Kong, claiming that they were inciting violence. While it is certainly true that many of the protests turned to riots, China has abused the excuse and arrested far too many people. This is why I support the Hong Kong protests. Hong Kong was promised rights and they were infringed upon. In fact, I would support the protests even if there was no promise of these rights. There should be no place on Earth where people can’t criticize the government or say what they think. Hong Kong is an example to the whole world of why we need these rights secured. 

So what can you do to guarantee these rights for yourself? You can take advantage of your rights and protest and speak up. If you don’t use your rights it is much easier for them to be snatched away. You can also speak out against things that censor unpopular opinions or the press. Without freedom of speech and the press, the government can get away with anything. This is why I think China is so keen to steal these rights from Hong Kong. China knows they can get away with so much more without an annoying free press to stand in their way. 

Because of the ongoing protests, I have hope for Hong Kong. Yet the Basic Law will someday become nullified anyways so it remains to be seen if Hong Kong can ensure its democracy.