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Why Massive Protests Are Occurring In Hong Kong

Why Massive Protests Are Occurring In Hong Kong

Protesters took to the streets again in Hong Kong on Monday, overshadowing ceremonies marking the anniversary of the July 1, 1997 handover of the city from British rule to China.

The anti-government protesters stormed the city’s legislative building, breaking doors and prying open gates before smashing into the legislative chambers, according to the South China Morning Post. Police responded with tear gas as protesters threw rocks and other objects. 

Why Are People Protesting?

Hong Kong residents are mostly protesting in opposition to a new, proposed law the Hong Kong government announced this year that would allow authorities in mainland China to request extradition from Hong Kong of people accused of crimes.

While there are fears that the extradition law could be abused by China — especially if it tried to bring local activists to the mainland for trial — a critical objection is that it could be a step toward eroding the promise of a separate legal system that Hong Kong was guaranteed when it became part of China.

That’s important to many in Hong Kong, as there are large differences in legal protections for the accused between the two systems.

Critics of mainland China say its legal system doesn’t protect basic human rights in some cases, while Hong Kong residents have traditionally enjoyed a legal system based on English common law with a constitution setting out the rights and freedoms of the city’s residents.

Hong Kong, a city of 7.4 million people, has seen large-scale protests for weeks over the proposal, which has been suspended from taking effect.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, who is backed by Beijing, pushed for the law. Last month, she apologized for the anxiety the proposal has caused, but protesters have continued to demand its complete withdrawal.

Now, the new tensions between residents and the city's government have renewed calls for additional democratic reforms in Hong Kong.

Related Links: 

Report: Alibaba Files For Hong Kong Listing As Trade Tensions Simmer

Hong Kong's First Quarter 2019 Box Volumes Plummet


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