What’s Happening in Hong Kong?

Tense protests are happening every day in Hong Kong, sparking fears that a serious breach by the Chinese government may be imminent. You’ve seen the images and sounds on television. But what is actually going on in Hong Kong? The protests date back to a seemingly innocuous piece of legislation that supposedly died weeks ago. But the political implications at play go much deeper than that.

Extradition Unknown

We wrote back in June about the first wave of protests. An unpopular extradition bill sparked those protests. The Chinese and even some in the Hong Kong government supported the bill. But its detractors believed it would ultimately allow the Chinese government to take political prisoners from Hong Kong without due process.

At the time, the nation devolved into massive protests, with stark battle lines between police and the protestors in the street. No massive violence occurred then, but many feared that the situation was a barrel of gunpowder just looking for a spark to light the fuse. From June 15 to July 22, five different protestors committed suicide in a bid to grow their cause.

On June 15, the date of the first suicide, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, once a supporter of the Extradition Bill, suspended it. On July 9, she declared it “dead.” But that has done little to resolve the tensions nor qualm the fears of the protestors.

Recent Developments

In the last few days, the protests have once again entered the public concern, with violent protests unfolding at the airport. The police have begun using tear gas on the protestors, and intelligence suggests that the Chinese government is building up its military options on the border.

Cameras have caught some protestors carrying American flags, a symbol of liberty and freedom internationally. But for the Chinese government, the flags have become an easy scapegoat. Enmeshed in a trade war with American President Donald Trump, the Chinese were quick to blame the U.S. for stoke the political tensions.

On Wednesday evening in Hong Kong, protests once again took to the streets, and the police once again deployed tear gas. The tensions seem nowhere near dissolving, which could be distressing if rumors about the border are true.

The Next Tiananmen?

With rumors that the Chinese military is building at the border to Hong Kong, many fear that the current protests could devolve into the next Tiananmen Square Massacre. In 1989 students took to Tiananmen Square, a popular Chinese landmark, to protest for democracy. The Chinese government decided to suppress the protests in what became one of the most bloody political massacres of modern time.

Now, reports suggest that the Chinese are once again moving troops and tanks to the border of Hong Kong. The biggest fear of concerned parties is that another Tiananmen could be brewing. The Chinese are desperate to stop these protests and avoid national embarrassment. The protestors show no interest in withdrawing, and have shown a willingness to martyr themselves for their cause.

No one can see the future, so no one can be certain how these protests end. But as many politicians are quick to point out, the fight for liberty is an important one, and Americans should be aware of the goings on in Hong Kong.

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