In the last few weeks, people have been protesting in Hong Kong.
Located on a tiny island off the south-east coast of China, life in Hong Kong is a mix of Asian and European culture. This Chinese city was taken over by the British Empire in 1842. As the British ruled over Hong Kong, European influence mixed with the Chinese way of life. In 1997, Hong Kong was given back to China. Because the city had gotten used to a different way of life, not everyone living there wanted to join back with China. The answer was the “one country, two systems” idea. This means that Hong Kong is officially part of China, but it is allowed some independence.
Why are people protesting?
The recent protests started because the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, tried to introduce a law that could send Hong Kongese to mainland China if they are accused of a crime. Some people think that China wants to use the law to bring Hong Kongese who criticizes the Chinese government to Beijing, where they can be punished. Beijing is the capital of China.
Hong Kong has its own laws and courts, so people are worried the law will be used to try to control the city. Hong Kong now has the right to free speech, but people in mainland China do not have that right, and they can get in real trouble if they criticize the government.
What is the answer?
The protesters are mainly young people, who have marched on the streets. They also gathered in the airport, stopping travel to and from the city. Many have called police reaction too harsh, and fights have broken out. On the other hand, the protests have been criticized by the Chinese and Hong Kong governments, due to violence and rioting by some protesters.
What do you think the answer is to this situation?