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The end of Hong Kong's independence and ensuing threats to sustainability and climate change

Table of Content

1.0 Introduction

2.0 About the protest and history

3.0 One Country, Two Systems

4.0 2019-2020 protests

5.0 Conclusion

 

Introduction

2020 has been a year full of major changes that have left us completely mute. Beginning with our very own COVID 19 pandemic, the destruction has been huge; that spread across the globe originating from Wuhan. As a result of this, we witnessed intense lockdowns, fearful rules and restrictions and not to forget the social distancing policies for the first time in life across most of the countries of the world.  Even though some of these measures brought the curve down for the number of people being infected by the virus, the pandemic hit the economy of nations hard enough resulting in mass layoff and unemployment, businesses being shut down and bankruptcies and toppled lives for so many including people being infected by this virus.  Although the way to recover from this is not an easy one; with restrictions being eased off in most of the nations we have started efforts to revive and get back on our feet.

However, in June, we witnessed massive protests amidst the death of George Floyd after he was pinned down by 4 officers of Minneapolis police department.  Protests took place in most of the states and resulted in government prosecuting all 4 officers and taking corrective measures and actions to defund police and condemn such acts. 

In July we are witnessing a different set of events this time in Asia, with tensions mounting between two major economies China and India over border and territory in Ladakh.  The second major event is the latest round of protests in Hong Kong amid the fugitive offenders’ amendment bill which was introduced last year and aborted & suspended in September 2019.

 

About the Protest and its History

Hong Kong was a British Colony until 1997 when it was returned to China with the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”.  But the murder of Poon Hiu-Wing leads to concern that the Hong Kong residents and visitors would be exposed to the legal system of mainland China that would eventually violate the “One Country, Two Systems” principle to which both China and Britain have agreed in the past.

The protesters put forth five demands during their protests that included suspending the extradition bill, action against police brutality, and releasing protestors that were arrested.  Although the government agreed and suspended the bill in September 2019, it did not accept the other four demands. On the other hand, they recently arrested 300 protestors for illegal assembly and other offenses involving violations of the new law.

This has lead to more rounds of protests and criticism from nations including the US and Britain over China’s aggressive action.

 

One Country, Two Systems

It is a constitutional principle of the People’ Republic of China stating the details about the governance of Hong Kong and Macau after they became SARs (Special Administrative Regions) of China in the years 1997 and 1999 respectively. According to the very old Hong Kong basic law, Hong Kong will retain its capitalist economy; own the Hong Kong dollar as its currency, legislative system, and same human rights as the SARs of China for more than 50 years. The present situation has given Hong Kong the authority to function as an independent entity that is not associated with any regards to China. People in Hong Kong today own SAR passports and not the Chinese passports. The currency used, languages spoken and the rituals followed today in Hong Kong are not the same as China. Hong Kong is responsible for its own national affairs like the military, defense, currency, public affairs, and also the judiciary system.

Hong Kong citizens were promised that they would get an opportunity to elect their government soon after the year 2017. However, that clearly did not happen; which is also one of the reasons of the protests by Hong Kong citizens, especially the youth and the students.

 

2019-2020 Protests

An extradition bill was proposed in Hong Kong in April 2019 which provoked mass protests. According to the new law, the suspects of any serious crime could be sent to China. The new law suggested that the decisions would have to be made on a case-by-case basis by the Chief Executive. There has been a lot of criticism by the citizens of Hong Kong pertaining to this new law passed by the extradition bill. The new law has been seen as a threat by the public that could wear down Hong Kong’s sovereignty and things like subjective confinement, physical and mental torture to the prisoners and unfair trials and retributions could be implemented under the Chinese judicial system. This is where it all started and definitely the involvement of China in the administrative and judiciary system in Hong Kong could lead to unfair practices in the country.

 

Conclusion

Pandemic, civil rights protests, black movement protests, and now the Hong Kong protests; this year has surely raised questions in the minds of people who have always approved the government’s decisions and the laws of the country. Raising a voice against the wrong is not at all wrong and people all over the world are definitely getting aware of their rights and the injustice happening all around. Being silent is not the solution. People in Hong Kong too have come out and raised their collective opinions in the form of protests. Police have taken severe action against these protestors; but the motive is ‘Freedom’, which every human has a right to.

Hong Kong is Asia's second most sustainable city according to design consultancy firm Arcadis.

China has a poor track record of excessive population and heavy emissions of harmful gases in the air due to industrialization, infrastructure, water problems and other resources. China is one of the leading contributors to global warming today. Hong Kong has been very successful in keeping its carbon emission low compared to countries like China, Bangladesh and India. Hong Kong also dealt with the Covid-19 situation very lucratively.

Taking over Hong Kong by China could lead to a negative impact on Hong Kong; not only to its people but also the weather and climate conditions there. Once China takes over Hong Kong, Hong Kong would be forced to abide by the Chinese laws and regulations which are not as updated as Hong Kong and the sustainable lifestyle people are living in Hong Kong today might not continue for long. So let’s hope that the protests implemented by the citizens of Hong Kong prove beneficial to them and the successful result of their protests might be a turning point for the current dreadful and dark year which has only been known as a year of massacres and miseries.

 

References:

chinaperspectives-1173.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_country,_two_systems

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Hong_Kong_protests

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/16/733168842/hong-kong-executive-apologizes-as-protests-continue-over-extradition-bill

https://e-storia.blog/2016/07/01/china-resumes-control-of-hong-kong/

http://hklsteacher.blogspot.com/2014/10/blog-post.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/hong-kong-year-protest-set-continue-2020-191223081920980.html

https://hongkongbusiness.hk/economy/news/hong-kong-asias-second-most-sustainable-city

https://www.statista.com/chart/20804/costs-of-air-pollution-from-fossil-fuels/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2020/jul/01/hong-kong-protests-over-new-security-law-in-pictures

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