Until 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by Britain as a colony but then returned to China. Under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, it has some autonomy, and its people more rights. One of the principles of Basic Law is the right of Hong Kong to develop its own democracy, which the Chinese authorities promised not to intervene. But in recent years, Beijing has repeatedly reinterpreted Basic Law — now saying it has full jurisdiction over Hong Kong. Basic Law states that Hong Kong will “protect the rights and freedoms of its residents” for 50 years after the takeover. However, many residents say that mainland China has already usurped these rights. In the semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which came under the domination of China in 1997 after the colonial rule, independent judiciary and freedom of expression are guaranteed. This status of Hong Kong is seen in contrast to the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Protesters say there is no independent judiciary in China, which they say “censorship and oppression are common”, and that opponents are questioned in secret prisons. Hong Kong’s protests started in June against plans to allow extradition to mainland China. The extradition bill -introduced in 2019- 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 Hongkongers 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. Considering the autocratic rulers, it was clear that this bill would harm the opposition. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets. After weeks of protests, leader Carrie Lam eventually said the bill would be suspended. Protesters feared the bill could be revived, so demonstrations continued, calling for it to be withdrawn completely.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologized during the summer months for the demonstrations interrupting the functioning of the government. Let’s underline, the leader’s concern was only government affairs. The previous hypocrisy had also surfaced. Since then, the government has also taken a tougher attitude. Police almost every week accused the demonstrators of “organizing an uprising” and called for the establishment of law and order. Hong Kong leader Lam said the protesters had ‘put the city in an irreversible situation’ and announced that the government would not accept the protesters’ demands. Also Beijing’s attitude was tough from the beginning. President Xi Jinping said the protests ‘pointed to terrorism’ and called for an end to the violence. Describing the demonstrators as “radical protesters”, Xi Jinping said that Hong Kong’s “most urgent duty to stop violence and restore order”. Xi Jinping argued that the use of force by the police is also within the law. Chinese President Xi Jinping said any attempt to divide his country would “end in chewed corpses and broken bones”. Shi also warned that “foreign powers that support these initiatives should not dream in vain.” No law allows the police to kill people arbitrarily, no law allows the police to kidnap people.
On the day the Chinese Communist Party celebrated its 70th anniversary, at least 180 people were detained and 104 were injured in the protests held in Hong Kong.
During the protests that took place on October 1, 2019, the police fired a real bullet into the chest of an 18 year old protester. During the day, the police used real bullets six times.
The peaceful protests intensified with the harsh intervention of the police, and the demands were gathered under five headings:
- Refund bill needs to be completely removed
- Independent investigation for police violence
- Protest demonstrations not being defined as ‘organized insurgency’ crime
- Release of detained protesters
- Granting general suffrage in Hong Kong elections
With all these headlines gathered, there is only one thing Hong Kong citizens wanted: The right to full democracy.
The protests that started with peaceful marches did not cease after five months, on the contrary, the violence increased gradually. Two protesters died as a result of the hit of a real bullet. Another was killed when the brick thrown in the clashes hit.
The fear spread among the people. It has been claimed that some of the clashes between the demonstrators and the police were provoked by ‘hitmen and provocateurs’ who intervened.
Many activists began to see the Hong Kong international airport as a safe area of protest, away from the streets where clashes between demonstrators and police were commonplace. However, this changed after the police clashes at the airport, and the authorities issued a court order to prevent future protests. The airport, one of the busiest in Asia, has been a key protest target for anti-government demonstrators to deliver their messages directly to the international community. In August, leaflets in Chinese, English, French, Korean, Japanese and other languages were distributed to international visitors at the airport, explaining the reasons for the unrest and the demands of the opposition movement, according to protesters. About 1000 flights were affected by the protests in early August, according to the CEO of the Hong Kong airport authority. A court then made an order restricting people’s access to the airport.
Let’s note how the protests progressed:
July 1, 2019
Hundreds of people wearing masks and helmets, mostly university students, raided the Legislative Assembly in Hong Kong. As thousands of people gathered in front of the Parliament building on the 22nd anniversary of the transfer of the city administration from the UK to China, an angry crowd broke into the windows and doors.
13 June 2019
Second meeting of the bill in parliament was suspended after the demonstrations.
24 September 2019
Students protest China’s stance on 2017 elections with silent marches.
26 September 2019
Tensions started to climb. The “Occupy the Center” protest group decided to organize more organized and large-scale marches. Police intervened and arrested some of the demonstrators.
28 September 2019
Police tried to disperse the crowds with tear gas. Election reform was promised, but it was announced that this would not include the 2017 elections.
29 September 2019
Pro-democracy demonstrators take control of central Hong Kong.
30 September 2019
Protesters do not leave the streets despite official calls to “GO HOME”.
Since the first day of the protests, many protesters have died. Many protesters have been kidnapped and their location is still unknown. Many protesters suffered great damage. Police forces continue their harsh intervention, regardless of people. An Indonesian journalist lost his eye after police shot with plastic bullets while filming the protests in Hong Kong. His lawyers said that the plastic bullet also pierced the protective goggles that Indah was wearing, hitting his eye. Indah, who works for Indonesian newspaper Suara, stated that a journalist next to him told the police, “Don’t shoot, we are journalists,” and then the police opened fire.
A little over a month since China imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong, the Apple Daily has become a target. Police raided the paper’s offices on Monday and arrested its owner, Jimmy Lai, and nine others on charges including colluding with foreign forces. The raid on the newspaper has raised fears of a broader crackdown on media freedom in Hong Kong — and for the future of one of the few papers unafraid to push the boundaries. Over its 25 years in print, the Apple Daily has become something rarer — a newspaper unafraid to be openly critical of the Chinese state and a standard bearer for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
Although many governments and newspapers deliberately remain silent, many international activist groups continue their actions for human rights in Hong Kong.
This text by Anonymous activist summarizes everything:
“The Pearl of the Orient has lost its shine. Today Hong Kong is already invaded by the evil dictator that claims to rule with “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”.
One year after the start of the revolution since the 9th of June in 2019, many revolutionists have lost their homes. Among them, 12 youth protesters who attempted to escape 4 months ago are illegally detained within the territory of mainland China until right now. Unfortunately, political arrests and inhumane actions in suppression of civil rights activists have always been going on under the rule of the Chinese communist party. And the recent forced extradition of the 12youths’ is only a tip of the iceberg.
Chinese communist party’s plan to invade Hong Kong by 2020, including the extradition and national security bills, were already noticed by the Anonymous in 2017. As well as their plan to have 75% share of the infrastructure in African regions, to take over the technology business for surveillance and propaganda.
In 2018, the Anonymous had revealed the said plans to major legislation council members. However, was then not answered to with interest nor attention. The legislation council, elected by the people, has lost its function in representing and voicing out for the people. The same politicians being warned about the threats yet have declined to work against them, are now still standing in the council, continuing to put up shows for more votes and benefits. Could you still count on them?
This special administrative region of China, has not stopped for a second in arresting the opposition under its tyranny. The situation is comparable, if not more extreme, than it used to be in Ukraine and Catalonia. For how many more times do we have to witness history repeating itself to say enough is enough? If we do not together go against tyranny today, would you not fear that one day the same would happen in your own cities and towns?
Look at your own society, do you think you can change it with the only vote that you have? The ways we used to check and balance the system are not as effective anymore. Global protests are no longer responded with changes in the system, but only more suppression by the governments. The resistance in Asia had taught us the lesson, with our own blood shed in police brutality and lives lost to the tyranny.
Brothers and Sisters in Europe, we believe that revolution builds from the actions of each of the citizens. We do not have to beg foreign governments for mercy, because we believe in the power of world citizens, that our will could together defeat this evil dragon. Regardless whether the city “Hong Kong” exists in the world, the spirit of us HongKongese, just as the ideas of the Anonymous, is bulletproof.
I trust that you would stand with us in the fight against the tyranny. However, beware of the false statements and information spreading around. There are people scamming with fake donations, creating fake news. That only confuses the resistance and is toxic to our fight. Do not let your kindness kill the solidarity of the protesters. Stop donations and those organising them, money does not compensate and we do not need pity. The revolutionists are here to lift the spirits of the protestors, bring them back like the Spartan’s, remember our speech in 2007 “United as Ones, And divide by zero”. and we won’t forget and forgive!
Brothers and Sisters, today, attention alone is not enough to take back the lost city. I need you to stand with us against this dictator in Asia. We hope to see the reappearance of the true “Hong Kong” in the near future. And we promise, the name “Hong Kong” would represent unity, democracy and freedom when the time comes. We don’t have much time to prepare for it. If you are a woke citizen, please join us, help the protestors who had fled to your region. We do not rely on the governments, nor the politicians. We believe in the citizens and we believe in you.
Brothers and sisters in the lost city, your blood shed won’t be in vain.
Your names would be remembered when the sun shines again on our land. Everyone would shed their tears for you under our flag at half-mast. Till then, before we take back our homeland, be prepared and let us all be united.
We do not beg to pressure one government with the power of another. This has always been a war between the people and the repressive regimes. In the war against them we need mutual agreement among world citizens instead of the agreements of other governments. We need common disapproval for the laws of the dictator that we disapprove.
Today we have three statements to make.
Firstly, Hong Kong is delisted in the Million Mask March since year 2020. It is considered a part of China, and following that, we do not acknowledge any contracts or trades with Hong Kong or its currency. The totalitarian government has taken over our homes and we are forced to give it up. We need your acknowledgement and execution with us. Claim to deny the existence of Hong Kong and isolate the regime. Stop all economical activities with the city and leave the city alone for the moment.
Secondly, Hong Kong shall be addressed to not as “Hong Kong”, but “the Special Administrative Region” as a part of China. The legend of “Hong Kong” has to be taken as history for now, that the city is dead. The acknowledgement of the Special Administrative Region as “Hong Kong”, is destroying world citizens’ perception of the truth. People residing in the city are no longer citizens, but residents of the SAR.
Thirdly, when helping out refugees fled from the SAR, be kind but also beware of potential scams. Help them integrate into the new communities they’re resided in, but do not allow them to depend on your money alone. Instead of donating or non-stop protesting, we all can carry out more impactful actions with our own hands.
As a final remark, the current invasion of our homes doesn’t equate to their ultimate victory. The war is still going on, globally. At this moment when the statement is made in Amsterdam, in Europe, you may not relate it to yourselves. However, the Anonymous must hereby warn that, the penetration of Chinese products, businesses and influence is creeping in, especially in the tech business such as Huawei. Brothers and Sisters in Europe, while you are busy with local issues, please be aware of the evil dragon’s moves, with its every tiny move it gets closer to your daily lives.”
Considering all global issues, we need more than ever to protect human rights.
All citizens should take action to protect human rights.