Protesters scatter. Screams fill the air as an eighteen-year old protester falls to the ground after being shot by a police officer. The protester was shot because he tried to assault the police officer with a metal rod. This is one of many examples of the conflict that has been going on in Hong Kong since June. It originally started in March, when China attempted to pass the Hong Kong Extradition Bill that would legalize the arrest of voices of political dissent in Hong Kong.
The bill is what started the initial protests, and when the police started arresting, assaulting, and tear-gassing protesters, the protests became violent and morphed into full-blown riots. The Extradition Bill has since been abandoned, but now the protesters and rioters are fighting for freedom from the oppressive chinese government.
This doesn’t just concern China, it concerns America, too. Many Americans have stated their support for the protesters in Hong Kong, which has angered China and caused them to cut off certain economic trades with the U.S, which is having an adverse effect on our economy. This is a serious problem, which needs to be stopped immediately, and I know how.
First, let’s take a look at the actions of the Chinese Government in response to the protests. Source #2, on June 12, the city’s riot police dispersed the protesters that were peacefully protesting outside the Legislative Council building by “kettling protesters, allegedly assaulting journalists, firing tear gas, bean bag rounds, and rubber bullets.” It was later declared as a riot, although the police were condemned for using excessive force against peaceful protesters. This heavily increased tensions, and the strength of the protests, which later lead to the first recorded violent protest on July 14, when the police were kettling protesters, and the protesters decided to fight back. Since then, protests have only gotten more confrontational, with police using more and more excessive force, once firing over 800 canisters of tear gas in a single protest. It all came to a head on October 1, when a police officer finally shot a protester with a real bullet from a revolver. This massively fueled the fires of the protests, with almost every protest since the shooting a violent one.
Essentially, what once started as a peaceful movement turned into a revolution, even having a new manifesto for Hong Kong’s government drawn up by protesters. The Chinese government currently refuses to listen to reason, and America is currently having it’s economy affected by the Chinese government, as they are trying to use their economic power to assert authority over american companies, social media, and even real life protests in america- and it’s only getting worse. Recently, Police have forcefully entered the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong completely without warrant or reason to do so. Many students have battled the police in clashes, even arming themselves with the universities’ sports equipment, including bows and arrows. “It’s crazy that police have been firing tear gas for more than 20 minutes. If they didn’t come in, we wouldn’t clash with them. It’s our school. We need to protect our home,” stated university student Candy, age 20. It is theorized that they are invading the campus because it is home to Hong Kong’s internet data center, and if they gain control, they would have control over 99% of the data going in and out of Hong Kong’s internet. It is believed they would use this power to stop Hong Kong citizens from contacting the outside world. If this happens, it will be a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. But despite many beliefs, we can do something about it right here. We should start by boycotting chinese products, effectively hitting them where it hurts- their wallets. If we could band together and make a large enough dent on China’s economy, they might start complying with our demands. People may have doubts, but if you take a lesson from the american revolution, it’s that you should never underestimate the power of citizens who hate the government.
Ives, Mike. “Hong Kong Police Shoot a Protester, 18, With a Live Bullet for the First Time.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Oct. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/01/world/asia/hong-kong-protestor-shot.html.
“2019 Hong Kong Protests.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Nov. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Hong_Kong_protests.
Ng, Eileen. “HK Protesters Met With Tear Gas After Attack on News Agency.” Time, Time, 2 Nov. 2019, https://time.com/5716845/hong-kong-protesters-news-agency-attack/.
Leung, Jasmine, et al. “Hong Kong Police Clash with Protesters in Tense Standoff as Violence Continues.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 12 Nov. 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/hong-kong-police-clash-protesters-tense-standoff-violence-continues-n1080501.
Duehren, Andrew. “Senate Unanimously Approves Measure Backing Hong Kong Protesters.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 19 Nov. 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-unanimously-approves-measure-backing-hong-kong-protesters-11574205044.