Hong Kong protesters overstep boundaries

Photo courtesy of Peter Y. Chuang/Unsplash

What started out as peaceful protests against the Hong Kong extradition bill has become an international phenomenon as protesters began using devious ways to draw attention to one of the most publicized demonstrations of anger against China since the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. 

Introduced by the Chinese government, the extradition bill requires criminal offenders to be tried in Beijing instead of Hong Kong. The bill, along with other mounting tensions, sparked the original protests, which included peaceful marches and signs.

When this form of protesting didn’t gain attention from the government, protesters resorted to using fists and weapons, insinuating the police into the complicated situation. As much as the police faulted in their ways of attack, the protesters took a wrong turn as well when they began using violence and forced the people of Hong Kong to take a side. 

Though many people around the world have shown support for the protesters through social media posts and videos, even those who back them should have drawn the line months ago when the rioters assaulted innocent bystanders and blocked places vital to Hong Kong’s economy. As much as I support their fight for equality, disrupting the lives of hardworking individuals who try to make a living is completely unnecessary. 

Nonetheless, the Hong Kong rioters’ motivation lies much deeper than an extradition bill; it dates back 200 years to a time when China lost control of the territory twice to England.

When British colonization ended after 150 years, the Queen of England required Hong Kong to be under the “one country-two systems” law starting in 1997. The principle states that the territory would be led by the Chinese Communist party while maintaining its capitalistic virtues. 

Twenty two years later, Hong Kong is home to a rising economy but also the most expensive housing rates in the world. Only upper and middle class can afford apartments with the lower class only being able to afford renting one room.

Adding to the tired and stressed lives of Hongkongers, the promised 50 years of no disruption is slowly fading away as China has started to blur the lines between communism and capitalism in Hong Kong with the extradition bill. 

With the laws of the extradition bill, the built up resentment and hatred toward the bureaucracy reached its breaking point as the citizens of Hong Kong banded together to fight against the Chinese regime’s suppression. 

As much as the protesters have suffered, causing havoc in the Mass Transit Railway subway stations, the main form of transportation for Hong Kong citizens, should not go unpunished. Because of their actions in hitting civilians and blocking people from entering trains, the rioters caused the MTR to be shut down for weeks.

Adding to the chaos, the demonstrators vandalized and destroyed the interior of Hong Kong International Airport with slurs and weapons, forcing the airport to cancel all flights and activity for two days and not allow anyone to leave or enter the airport. 

Though I agree that the police shouldn’t have quickly succumbed to using rubber bullets and tear gas, the protesters should have been more cognizant of how their actions would harm both the economy and well-being of others. 

Nevertheless, there remains a strong message behind the citizens of Hong Kong. 

They hope to use what is left of their time to maintain their rights to free speech, liberty and free will as the year 2047 inches closer and closer. With their futures facing a dead end, the protesters are determined to find a conclusion for this 200-year saga in Chinese history.