This week marks the 12th consecutive week of protests in Hong Kong and protesters have explained their demonstrations against police, stating that demonstrations will continue escalating until the government meets their five demands.
The five demands, which protesters created in response to China’s threat of extraditing protesters from Hong Kong, outlines the five requests protesters are demanding from the government.
They are as follows:
1. A Full Withdrawal Of The Extradition Bill
Protesters are demanding a full withdrawal of the unpopular extradition bill introduced in February 2019.
The bill was introduced after a Hong Kong man, Chan Tong-kai, killed his girlfriend during a vacation in Taiwan.
Because Chan did not commit the murder in Hong Kong they were unable to charge him, leading to the introduction of the extradition bill which would allow the Hong Kong government to extradite citizens to jurisdictions they lacked formal agreements with, both Taiwan and mainland China.
The bill was shelved in June 2019 due to its unpopularity but protesters say that this is not enough.
“The government is still lying,” a citizen shares, “they claim that the bill has been suspended but we can still find it in the legal documents. We think the government is not trustworthy so we are still protesting.”
2. Investigation Into Alleged Police Brutality
The protests, which started in March 2019, began as peaceful demonstrations but escalated. On June 12, protesters gathered outside the Hong Kong Legislative Council building where the second reading for the extradition bill was being held. Protesters stormed defense lines, prompting police to use what protesters say was excessive force.
Citizens are also wary of police after allegations of police colluding with Chinese mafia, the triads. Citizens speculate collusion after a slow response time and no charges when triad members attacked unarmed protesters.
3. A Retraction Of Protesters As Rioters
After the June 12 protest, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam and Police Commissioner Stephen Lo used the term “rioters” to describe protesters. Rioting is a crime that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
4. Amnesty for arrested protesters
So far more than 700 protesters have been arrested since demonstrations began. They have been charged with crimes such as unlawful assembly, assaulting police and rioting.
Protesters have explained that marches are approved and police still arrest and charge them for unlawful assembly despite marching within the legal time frame.
Other reports detail citizens who were arrested even though they were not involved in protests.
5. Universal Suffrage
Currently only half of the seats in the legislative council of Hong Kong are directly elected by voters. Chief executive Carrie Lam is elected by a 1,200 member committee considered to be mostly controlled by Beijing.
Sunday’s protest at Tsuen Wan marked one of the most violent protests since demonstrations began and protesters have shared that demonstrations will continue to escalate until their demands are met.
Protesters have explained that they do not trust China and are fighting to keep the “one country, two systems policy” implemented in their autonomous city.
This weekend’s protests were rocked by warnings of big brother-like surveillance and the authoritarianism Hongkongers would face if mainland China were to take control of their city.
For those questioning the violent actions of HK protesters, these people are fighting for their rights and freedoms the People’s Republic of China doesn’t believe in.
-Freedom of speech
-Freedom of religion
The citizens of Hong Kong are fighting for everything Americans take for granted.