Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained

Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained

The people of Hong Kong are out in the streets. Hundreds of thousands are demonstrating against
a deeply unpopular bill. But this is about a whole lot more than a bill. It’s about the status of Hong Kong
and the power China has over it. It’s a fight to preserve the freedoms people
have here. And it all started with a murder. On February 8, 2018, a young couple, Chan
Tong Kai and Poon Hiu-Wing, went from their home in Hong Kong to Taiwan for a vacation. They stayed at the Purple Garden Hotel in
Taipei for nine days. But on February 17th only one of them returned
to Hong Kong. There, one month later, Chan confessed to
murdering his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time. But there was a problem. Hong Kong authorities couldn’t charge him
for murder, because he did it in Taiwan. And they couldn’t send him back to Taiwan
to be charged, because Hong Kong and Taiwan don’t have
an extradition agreement. So in 2019, Hong Kong’s government proposed
one: it would let them transfer suspects to Taiwan so they could be tried for their crimes. But the same bill would also allow extradition
to mainland China. Where there’s no fair trial, there’s no humane punishment, and there’s completely no separation
of powers. And that’s what sparked these protests. China and Hong Kong are two very different
places with a very complex political relationship. And the extradition bill threatens to give
China more power over Hong Kong. See, Hong Kong is technically a part of China. But it operates as a semi-autonomous region. It all began in the late 1800s, when China
lost a series of wars to Britain and ended up ceding Hong Kong for a period of 99 years. Hong Kong remained a British colony until
1997, when Britain gave it back to China, under a special agreement. It was called “One Country, Two Systems.” It made Hong Kong a part of China, but it
also said that Hong Kong would retain “a high degree of autonomy,” as well as democratic
freedoms like the right to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, of assembly. And that made Hong Kong very different from
mainland China, which is authoritarian: Citizens there don’t have the same freedoms. Its legal system is often used to arrest,
punish, and silence people who speak out against the state. But according to the agreement, One Country,
Two Systems wouldn’t last forever. In 2047, Hong Kong is expected to fully become
a part of China. The problem is, China isn’t waiting
for the deal to expire. Under the rule of Chinese leader Xi Jinping,
pro-democracy leaders have already been arrested in Hong Kong. And mysterious abductions of booksellers have
created a threat to free speech. But Hong Kong has been pushing back. In 2003, half a million Hongkongers successfully
fought legislation that would have punished speaking out against China. And in 2014, tens of thousands of protesters occupied the city for weeks to protest China’s influence over Hong Kong’s elections. Now, Hong Kongers are fighting the extradition
bill, because the bill is widely seen as the next
step in China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy. The sheer size of these protests shows you
just how much opposition there is to this bill. But if Hong Kong’s legislature votes on
the bill, it’ll probably pass. And that’s because of the unique nature
of Hong Kong’s democracy. For starters, Hong Kong’s people don’t
vote for their leader. The Chief Executive is selected by
a small committee and approved by China. And even though they’re the head of the
government, they don’t make the laws. That happens here. Like many democracies, Hong Kong has a legislature,
with democratically elected representatives. It’s called the Legislative Council, or
LegCo, and it has 70 seats. Within this system, Hong Kong has many political
parties, but they are mostly either pro-democracy or pro-China. In every election, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy
and anti-establishment parties have won the popular vote. But they occupy less than half of the seats
in the LegCo. This is because when Hong Kongers vote, they’re
only voting for these 40 of the 70 seats. The other 30 are chosen by the various business communities of Hong Kong. For example, one seat belongs to the finance
industry. One seat belongs to the medical industry. One belongs to the insurance industry. And so on. Many of these 30 seats are voted on by
corporations. And because big business has an incentive
to be friendly with China, those seats are dominated by pro-China political parties. When Hong Kong was handed over to China in
1997, Hong Kong and China made an agreement that eventually, all members of the council
would be elected by the people. But that never happened. And ever since the handoff, pro-China parties
have controlled the LegCo, despite having never won more than 50 percent of the popular
vote. The way it’s structured, they want to make
sure that the executive branch can have easy control over it. And that would serve Beijing very well indeed. Within this unique structure, the extradition
bill has created new tensions and fueled anger among pro-democracy politicians. And it’s driven hundreds of thousands of
Hong Kongers into the streets. While this isn’t Hong Kong’s first protest
against China’s influence, it is the biggest. And many say this time is different, because of the people involved. Professionals like lawyers and politicians are participating. Our legal sector staged their biggest ever protest parade. But it’s young people who are at the forefront,
since they have the most to lose. They are the first generation born under One
Country Two Systems. And in 28 years when that arrangement ends,
they’ll be Hong Kong’s professional class. I won’t be around anymore. It’s their future. It’s their Hong Kong. They have every
right to fight it. The protests have convinced Hong Kong’s
government to suspend the bill. But that’s not enough. Many want the bill withdrawn completely. That’s because these protests are also part
of a larger fight. To push back against China’s encroachment
now, not just when time’s up. 2047 is on its way. But it’s not here yet. And until then, Hongkongers still have a voice. History will tell whether we succeed, but even if we failed, history would say they did put up a fight and they didn’t just take things lying down. And that’s what we’re trying to do too.


100 thoughts on “Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained”

  • UPDATE 8/13/2019: Hong Kong's protests have escalated with canceled flights and police standoffs at Hong Kong's international airport. Read more: http://bit.ly/2OUZNB4

  • This demonstration is indirectly supported by Soro Foundation, Britain and USA to destabilize China through Hong Kong crisis. Hong Kong never ever had democracy even under British rule but as usually the Brit sowed the seed of disruption in every colony in Asia, in their agreement with China which thought otherwise.

  • I respect Hong Kong citizens' efforts in maintain democracy. But right now, there is too much violence going on in the protest. How can a HK university student bite policeman's finger off in the protest? The protest has gone too far from anti extradition bill to anti-Chinese government. It makes Chinese people feel angry because the US and UK flags appear in the protest. British government treat HK people like slaves when it took control but now the HK young generation want to be Britain's dogs again while Chinese government treat HK like its son? Right now what happened in HK is ungrateful and unforgivable. This has gone too far.

  • It seems nowadays people have this mentality of assumption that all governments are bad, all law enforcement are bad, people just love anti this anti that, yet they also are power seekers, let’s see what kind of politicians they are once they obtain powers, do remember those so called ‘rebels’ also inherit flaw human nature’s, some rebel for the sake of rebel, some rebel for the sake of their own ambition… don’t blindly follow a so called leader, sometimes they love the attention and the glory, and using zombies to build ladders.

  • Bratley Bonard says:

    WOW! The young Hong Kongers said they would scarifce their own lives for the freedom and future of Hong Kong. You've got all great respect from people around the world, my friends.


    We want to see freedom, free country ,without freedom rid, people have free to speech, free to think, free to decide, Hong Kong Freedom+

  • the protesters dig out some lawyer's
    parents tombs and spread their ashes at the lawyer's office door,because he is against the protest. you call it liberty.

  • As a Hong Konger, this video really shows how desperate we are feeling. We protest against the government but they still ignore us. The police are using excessive force in these months and we may stand no chance against such a corrupted, useless organization.

  • You have to watch this video with a pinch of salt. It only show and presents the views of the protesters, what about those majorities who are standing behind the government and the police! you should also watch other videos to have a better understanding about what is happening in hongkong.

  • There is a statement in the bill: only criminals who committed crimes in hongkong that is also a crime in china over 7 years of sentence can be transferred. Has any western media mentioned this?

  • Gerry子不语 says:

    Very funny, a criminal who fled to another city because of the killing, the country asked the city to surrender the murderer, and the city shouted "You interfered with our judiciary and affected our freedom."

  • China is doing so many atrocities in Hong Kong which is inhuman and totally undemocratic.
    Big country can not snub a smaller one by its military and mussel Power. Strong nation like US, USSR, France , UK, should take up this matter in UNSC for which its meant for. I urge India being large democracy in the world should raise to occasion and help the people of HK to get justice.

  • I think the citizens can disagree with the law and they have that entitlement that can
    But they must do it in the right way. The protest is now become to violence. The parader hurt people they destroyed the public facilities and even assaulting police. This behavior must be punished

  • If you don't commit a crime or planning to commit one, this law has nothing to do with you. But, why are you so against it? what did you lose over the passing of this law?

  • Consider a well-explained video, there is a historic part why Hong Kong is part of the colonization territory of Britain. During the era of colonization, people of Hong Kong do not have a chance to vote. The governor is appointed, there is no voting right for the ordinary people. It was about 1980s, Britain needs to return Hong Kong to China, then they introduce Democracy, Freedom of Speech and other 'Democracy' stuff to People of Hong Kong.

  • Both humanity and law need to be improved. The parade is legal, but the violent procession harms the interests of others should't call "freedom".

  • … the so-called democracy in your western countries is actually money politics. please enjoy your own political system and stay away from us!your money politics is not suitable here…

  • Wait a minute… But I still don't get why sending the suspect to be tried to Taiwan would also require free extradition to China?

  • 鄂人芝 Miss Zhi says:

    "Why do people still want Hong Kong independence? It's very simple. Our young people in the university cannot compete with our Mainland students. In terms of scholarships, in terms of prises, the Mainland students are winning all the way. So in stead of saying 'Let's lift our games, let's compete', they are saying 'We don't want to play with you anymore, we want to run away, we want to be independent from you'. It's basically the mentality of losers."

    —— Li Kwok-cheung, chairman of the Council of the University of Hong Kong, 16.10.2018

  • It's funny the guy with the hard helmet interviewed speaking in very clear mandarin, which is mainland China's mother language, meaning he is either from the mainland, or he is a HK-er who can't speak cantonese…

  • FlametheSeraph says:

    Shoot you want to help these people, and free their country, but that also would likely mean war with China, you can't win.

  • Request to democratic Govts around the world… plz pause all trade and imports from china in support of not only Hong Kong, but many democratic movements like Tibet, Xingiang, Manchuria and Taiwan. encourage other democratic powers around the world to do the same….. have a condition "TRADE ONLY WITH DEMOCRATIC NATIONS IN CHINESE SUBCONTINENT" Force Chine to disintegrate in to small democratic nations

  • So the British took that area to flood China with more Opium, and now China is trying to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. The days for these racist Hong Kongers are over. They belittle mainlanders just because they can speak English better. Time to return to your true home land.

  • let the wrath of the dragon cleanse the chaos, 1.4 billion vs 3 million, 97% of the GDP vs 3%, let's shown them what we got, just like 89…

  • We all knew this day would come whether we like it or not… Hong Kong will fall under China one day …but I hope China will not interfere physically…in the present scenario…I hope China will understand the sentiment of Hong Kong people…

  • 那些戴着头盔和口罩的人,在香港游行中的行为方式,换在美国任何一个地方,这些烂人绝对已经被美国警察灭死几百次了,怎么可能叫嚣到现在。( 占领华尔街)就是一个例子

  • The Americunts are spearheading the protest.
    US NGO are recruiting Chinese students.
    Hong Kong citizens have been white wash.

  • Excuse me, the commentator made a fundamental history error. Qing was the nation the British empire defeated and from which Hong Kong was ceded. People's Republic of China is not Qing. To be precise, she may refer the territory occupied by Qing, Republic of China, and the current People's Republic of China, is a region vaguely called China. Its analogy is Europe which is a region comprising of many nations. The same parallel concept for European and Chinese. Being Chinese is not necessarily a person who is a subject of the People's Republic of China.

  • I also want to know what mainland Chinese citizens think about this bill but it seems like they are not allowed to talk about this issue.

  • interesting, the video says China lost a war to UK, sounds like a war out of China, actually UK invaded China mainland and took away Hong Kong

  • dennis esplana says:

    I don't trust China at all. It's a very selfish power-hungry nation. Look at what they have been doing to us, the Philippines, for example. They have encroached on many of our islands lying at the periphery of our territory, stealing our islands, ravaging whatever resources they find there. They have no conscience and no respect at all for our people and for the environment.

  • They want the 2A, negative freedoms, and a free market. It's not preservation of freedom, it's an acquisition of freedoms.

  • 各國更希望政府能有人道的協助,警察背後的權力是法治給予的,或是政府給予的,各國更希望看到政府能正視問題,好好坐下來協商

  • So, did you think you know about this? Did it real about all of this video said? People always believe that others saying,but they forget that what is the turth about what is thier real hope.Hongkong never need others counties help.We dont mind ** you! Please dont hidden the real turth to people around world! People need turth!

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