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In the last week, the people of Hong Kong took to the streets to ask that the extradition bill be annulled, but the demands do not stop there
In 1997, when the British government gave the control to the People's Republic of China the control of Hong Kong, a territory that had been an English colony since 1898 as a result of the Opium Wars, all it asked was the permanence of the way of life of its inhabitants. Since for about 100 years this city to the Southeast of China had been governed by the English, its customs, judicial and tributary system, and even its language were distinguished from those of China. This cultural distance increases even more if one takes into account the Maoist revolution that implemented a new political and economic system very different from the capitalist that operated Hong Kong.
As a motto that the city was going to maintain economic and legal autonomy, an agreement was signed in 1984, known as "One country, two systems", in which China pledged not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs for 50 years from from the moment he officially formed part of his country. Since then, 22 years have passed, almost half of the time stipulated, and the central government of China has sought to increase its pressure and influence in the life of the ex-colony.
A proof of the above is the extradition law that the Government of Hong Kong was going to implement if the population had not risen in demonstrations. As The Guardian explains, "By allowing the surrender of any person on Hong Kong land to be tried in China, it would effectively remove the firewall between the common legal system in Hong Kong and the legal system of the interior dominated by the [communist] party." In that sense, it was a mechanism to absorb more to the city within the political system characterized by an authoritarianism and control of the high population.
As an argument in favor, Chief Minister Carrie Lam, known for her pro-Prekin tendency, said that the law was designed to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a place of escape and refuge for criminals, explained France 24. However, as explained Professor Valérie Niquet to this medium, although there is a position in favor of China in the government, many are interested in maintaining the special status of the city, since "Hong Kong is supposed to enjoy autonomy, it is an economic zone" special where liberties are much more important than in China itself "but that, since the arrival of Xi Jinping to power, pressure has been increased to regain control of this special district.
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Manifestations to maintain Hong Kong independence
The main way in which the inhabitants of the city showed their dissatisfaction was through massive demonstrations that began on June 9 and whose last demonstration was last Sunday. According to data from El País, two million people marched demanding, among other things, the resignation of Lam, since they consider that it does not defend the interests of Hong Kong. They marched dressed in black as a way to commemorate a young man who had died after falling from a building in the previous demonstrations. This is a large amount taking into account that the total population is about seven million inhabitants, that is, 28% took to the streets. This has been the largest demonstration since the pro-democracy marches in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
In counterpart, the police stated that only 338,000 people had been registered. To this is added that the Chinese Government, according to Euronews, declared that these marches were qualified as "street violence" as a result of "malicious interventions by foreign governments".
Sunday's march took place despite Lam's decision to suspend the extradition law process the previous day. In addition to the above, the leader also apologized to the people through a press release, which stated that "The Chief Minister recognizes that deficiencies in the work of the Government have unleashed substantial controversies and disputes in society, disappointing and saddening to many people ", in addition to" accepting all criticism sincerely and humbly, improving and serving the public ".
However, this was not enough for the Hong Kong people who requested not only the suspension, but the annulment of the bill and, as a result of their discomfort, the resignation of Lam, since they felt betrayed by their Government. As he declared for El País, Annie, a 50-year-old banker who took part in the demonstrations, "If [Lam] were sincere, he would withdraw it completely. But what he wants is for us to shut our mouths, go home and then do whatever he wants. Well you're going to find that we neither shut up nor go home. " Thus, Hong Kong people do not sit idly by to defend the freedom of their lifestyle, unique in the Chinese authoritarian system that rules the country today.
LatinAmerican Post | Juan Gabriel Bocanegra
Tanslated from "Manifestaciones en Hong Kong a favor de mantener su independencia política"