The predicament which Hong Kong citizens face has become increasingly visible across international news channels over the past year. Images of thousands of protestors, wielding umbrellas, many wearing white disposable face mask filters to conceal their identities from Chinese and HK security services, facing off to the highly disciplined police authorities in full riot gear wielding batons and firing rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds.
The origins of this developing unrest goes back a few decades to the days when Hong Kong was still a colony of the UK. Representative Democracy was introduced into Hong Kong in the mid 80’s by the UK (Colonial Government), possibly in preparation for the hand-over to China and/or in response to the growing pro-democracy camp which had emerged from youth movements during the 70’s. Pro-democrats support the rule of law, human rights, civil liberties and social justice and tend to have a confrontational stance towards autocratic regimes such as the Chinees Central government.
When the UK handover of Hong Kong to China took place in 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was established in accordance with Sino-British Joint Declaration (an international treaty logged by the UN). The overriding principle of governance has been a “one country, two systems” constitutional system, theoretically empowering the Hong Kong Government to administer all areas of government except foreign relations and defence.
Since the hand-over, it appears that the Hong Kong SAR has become increasingly subservient to China’s influence. During the same time, the earlier Pro-democracy rallies have morphed into mass demonstrations against China’s increasing dominance over the city state.
Things really became agitated in March when the HK SAR tried to pass an amendment that allowed the extradition to China of people who were due to stand trial for committing an offence. Since then, there have been a series of marches organised which have been receiving much TV coverage, and seeming to grow in numbers each time with 100’s of thousands of protestors converging on key parts of the city.[TBD: Need to add some more to this post]