To whom might wonder or concern about the future of Hong Kong
Although I’m current located in Canada, I have had spent 16 years of my life in Hong Kong. Witnessing how Hong Kong turned from a British Colony into a Global Financial Hub and now being traumatized politically by the Republic of China. Although we might not be able to pull their decision back from implementing, I want to inform as many people as I can about the consequences caused by the Belt Road Initiatives.
Here’s a little bit of the background: When Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, a “One Country, Two Systems” socialist system would be implemented in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system shall remain unchanged for 50 years. This marked the beginning of the world most prosperous and diverse city
The Extradition Law Protest
Extradition, in international law, means the process by which one state, upon the request of another, effects the return of a person for trial for a crime punishable by the laws of the requesting state and committed outside the state of refuge. Extraditable offences generally include crimes that are punishable in both parties by at least one-year imprisonment including physical violence such as murder and business frauds such as taxes, customs duties, and foreign exchange offences.
The Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, has proposed an adjustment in the Extradition Law because of murder happened in Taiwan where the Murderer flees back to Hong Kong to escape legal responsibilities. (P.S Taiwan along with China are not part of the Extradition Treaty Countries) Behind the scenes, through adjusting this International Law would give China control on state securities and criminal offenses — a significant move towards the Belt Road Initiatives.
A record-breaking of over 1.03 million (one-seventh of the entire population) have marched in the street on this Sunday, voicing their opinion against the Extradition Law adjustment. This protest was crucial because once the Extradition Laws have been adjusted, the likelihood of people risking their profile to protest against governmental bodies will drastically decrease.
After 6 hours of marching, they have arrived at the body of the Legislation Council in Admiralty. Protestors had delivered their thoughts angrily yet in a peaceful manner, until midnight when the Chief Executive declared they would not withdraw with the Extradition change proposal.
Hong Kong Fundament Value: What’s Next
Freedom and Diversify of opinions have always stood as the core values of Hong Kong which had driven substantial economic and social opportunities across the world. In addition to the multicultural background as being pegged to the US dollars and was a colony of the British, several top-tier financial institutions have located their Asia offices in Hong Kong.
Economically, foreign investment would be more likely to withdraw because of the increase in the default risk and narrowing investment opportunities. This would destroy Hong Kong’s status as being the finance hub of Asia and meanwhile China would have fewer competitions when entering in this space — Win-Win situation for the Chinese government.
Socially, our people have already lost their freedom in electing their leaders a few years ago following the Umbrella Movement, and now China is able to insert white terror to suppress public protest and anti-China behavior. In addition to the wealth-disparity and housing problems etc, over 65% of the population had stated they want to emigrate to neighbor countries.
Once if the Extradition change has been implemented, Hong Kongers would either get squeezed out by the inflow of China’s population or they would be relocated by the Chinese government to another province. Without exaggerating, I would say this marked the end of Hong Kong’s democracy as well as the Basic Law signed in 1997.
What’s the Bigger Picture?
- China’s Belt-Road Initiatives will forgo foreign investment in Hong Kong in order to integrate Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau altogether.
- Hong Kong people are in a dangerous position where they would easily get replaced by the cheap, Mandarin-speaking and skills-trade-focused workforce.
- Hong Kong’s young politicians and pro-democracy leaders are going to be sent to jails and banned from the Parliament. Groupthink effect in China would strengthen in Hong Kong.
What’d You Can Do
I personally hope there will be more people who can remember this tragedy and spread awareness towards their own community whether they are Chinese or not.
If you know anyone who is currently or had lived there, please shoot them a message and check them out if they are mentally okay.
If you have gotten time, I would love to have you continue to read and see what has happened to Hong Kong over these years.
Timeline of fierce political conflicts between Hong Kong people and the government:
- In the mid-2000s, China has kept sending representatives to Hong Kong to take part in legislation activities. (i.e 3rd Runway, Reclamation, etc)
- In 2012, The Hong Kongers have protested against the Education Bureau to rewrite textbooks to become more China-Friendly by strengthening Chinese history contents and simplified Chinese writing.
- In 2013, China has proposed the infrastructure-based expansion plan — “Belt Road Initiative”
- In 2014, China has intervened Hong Kong’s election policy where the Chinese decided to rule out full universal suffrage in Hong Kong which had led to the historical 79 days democracy protest, named “Umbrella Movement” (Or Occupy Movement)
- In 2018, China has constructed a China Express Rail Link between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, which led to a huge Chinese social influence spread within the Hong Kong demographic.
- Now, China has made his final attempt to erupt Hong Kong’s democratic freedom by imposing its extradition law on Hong Konger.
China’s groupthink ecosystem has been magnified with their implementation of super surveillance with facial recognition and background checks. Which are huge reasons why Hong Kongers are so fiercely against this extradition laws? Within this decade, there are already numerous examples where the Chinese government has indirectly arrested/taken people who spread anti-China opinions within the city.
In 2015, Lam Wing-kee, the owner and manager of Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay Books along with four of his colleagues have been taken to the mainland for persecution without noticing the Hong Kong Police Department because he was selling political books that are banned in China.
In 2017, Liu Xiao Bo, an author who spent his life advocating nation democracy and human rights to the general public. He had received the Nobel Prize Peace in 2010 by maintaining peace despite heavy suppression, ultimately his family was arrested by China and he died as a prisoner.
The difference from the Umbrella Movement
The difference between the protest against the extradition and the protest against Act 23 is mainly the difference between Hong Kong’s negotiation power over the Chinese government and the amount of China’s control in Hong Kong.
1. The Presence of political leaders and pro-democratic leaders
The Umbrella Movement was initiated by a group of Pro-Democracy leaders and backed up with foreign investors and local companies. The message was widely spread across the community and was symbolized by the Yellow Umbrella, at that time we have received support from over 100 countries over the globe like New York, Taiwan, Japan, Vancouver etc.
But afterward, new politicians and democratic leaders who had led the umbrella revolution had been arrested into jail or banned from the Parliament for various reasons: social injustice, disturbance to society, physical violence to securities, etc. These acts had discouraged new democratic leaders from stepping up and ultimately the Hong Konger has lacked leaders to voice their opinions and aided China’s acceleration in integrating cultural influences.
In Contrast, to the Extradition protest, more people have realized the threat China has been imposing towards them and more of them have decided to participate at the protest, but most leaders have gone because of political suppression.
2. The Sense of Powerless among the Community
Traveling to Hong Kong seems exciting but living a life in Hong Kong is not. Hong Kong is rooted with extreme pressure within the wealth disparity problems, high rising living cost, serious air pollutions and averagely super long hours of workload.
These problems along with global problems like aging populations and international tenseness have really stressed Hong Kongers out because they don’t see the government was putting an effort into it. We were proud that our GDP had BEAT hundreds of countries but the government is allocating all these money into infrastructure which was built to bridge with mainland instead of Education, Healthcare and Housing — Which a society really values.
Upon in the Umbrella Revolution in 2014, these problems have not gone extreme yet and most people still see a future in Hong Kong. But after the Umbrella Revolution, we have developed hatred against China’s governemnt and our legislative executives, the police department as well as the administrative Bureau. Through every regional election, legislation decision and even social decisions, Hong Kong citizens were disappointed by the government again and again. The disconnection between the government and Hong Kong citizens have only broadened since then. Thus, it led to an irreplaceable of hopelessness among Hong Kong citizens.
3. Cultural & Social Influence China has on Hong Kong
A few years ago, Hong Kong is not as dependent as it is now. China’s international strategy as offering economic opportunities to other countries by marketing themselves cheap and resourceful which is true, then China would quietly grow its stakes onto companies operations and ultimately they have obtained great negotiation power over trade agreements and they did the same to Hong Kong.
By connecting Shenzhen and Hong Kong, it’s ‘cheap’ incentives have attracted much Hong Kong midsize companies to shift their operations, much citizens have started to visit Shenzhen for cheap entertainment and Hong Kong has become super accessible which led to a lot of inflow of Chinese. As mentioned in the Belt Road Initiative, China has successfully to start integrating cultures between itself and Hong Kong and ultimately people become less sensitized when the government has proposed regulations that are running in China but might offends the core value of the current country.
As more immigrants from China claiming themselves Hong Kongers, the education system has been disrupted with China history and simplified Chinese writing style, changes within infrastructure structuring formats and road signs, etc have really changed Hong Kong in an unchangeable way. Which led to a growing minority group of pro-extradition people.
After all, June 9th of 2019 is the ultimate demonstration of public disappoint against the government and the beauty of democracy. It might not end like a fiction story but it would definitely is a memorable historical moment for us to remember. Lest We Forget.