Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained

Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained

The people of Hong Kong are out in the streets. Hundreds of thousands are demonstrating against
a deeply unpopular bill. But this is about a whole lot more than a bill. It’s about the status of Hong Kong
and the power China has over it. It’s a fight to preserve the freedoms people
have here. And it all started with a murder. On February 8, 2018, a young couple, Chan
Tong Kai and Poon Hiu-Wing, went from their home in Hong Kong to Taiwan for a vacation. They stayed at the Purple Garden Hotel in
Taipei for nine days. But on February 17th only one of them returned
to Hong Kong. There, one month later, Chan confessed to
murdering his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time. But there was a problem. Hong Kong authorities couldn’t charge him
for murder, because he did it in Taiwan. And they couldn’t send him back to Taiwan
to be charged, because Hong Kong and Taiwan don’t have
an extradition agreement. So in 2019, Hong Kong’s government proposed
one: it would let them transfer suspects to Taiwan so they could be tried for their crimes. But the same bill would also allow extradition
to mainland China. Where there’s no fair trial, there’s no humane punishment, and there’s completely no separation
of powers. And that’s what sparked these protests. China and Hong Kong are two very different
places with a very complex political relationship. And the extradition bill threatens to give
China more power over Hong Kong. See, Hong Kong is technically a part of China. But it operates as a semi-autonomous region. It all began in the late 1800s, when China
lost a series of wars to Britain and ended up ceding Hong Kong for a period of 99 years. Hong Kong remained a British colony until
1997, when Britain gave it back to China, under a special agreement. It was called “One Country, Two Systems.” It made Hong Kong a part of China, but it
also said that Hong Kong would retain “a high degree of autonomy,” as well as democratic
freedoms like the right to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, of assembly. And that made Hong Kong very different from
mainland China, which is authoritarian: Citizens there don’t have the same freedoms. Its legal system is often used to arrest,
punish, and silence people who speak out against the state. But according to the agreement, One Country,
Two Systems wouldn’t last forever. In 2047, Hong Kong is expected to fully become
a part of China. The problem is, China isn’t waiting
for the deal to expire. Under the rule of Chinese leader Xi Jinping,
pro-democracy leaders have already been arrested in Hong Kong. And mysterious abductions of booksellers have
created a threat to free speech. But Hong Kong has been pushing back. In 2003, half a million Hongkongers successfully
fought legislation that would have punished speaking out against China. And in 2014, tens of thousands of protesters occupied the city for weeks to protest China’s influence over Hong Kong’s elections. Now, Hong Kongers are fighting the extradition
bill, because the bill is widely seen as the next
step in China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy. The sheer size of these protests shows you
just how much opposition there is to this bill. But if Hong Kong’s legislature votes on
the bill, it’ll probably pass. And that’s because of the unique nature
of Hong Kong’s democracy. For starters, Hong Kong’s people don’t
vote for their leader. The Chief Executive is selected by
a small committee and approved by China. And even though they’re the head of the
government, they don’t make the laws. That happens here. Like many democracies, Hong Kong has a legislature,
with democratically elected representatives. It’s called the Legislative Council, or
LegCo, and it has 70 seats. Within this system, Hong Kong has many political
parties, but they are mostly either pro-democracy or pro-China. In every election, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy
and anti-establishment parties have won the popular vote. But they occupy less than half of the seats
in the LegCo. This is because when Hong Kongers vote, they’re
only voting for these 40 of the 70 seats. The other 30 are chosen by the various business communities of Hong Kong. For example, one seat belongs to the finance
industry. One seat belongs to the medical industry. One belongs to the insurance industry. And so on. Many of these 30 seats are voted on by
corporations. And because big business has an incentive
to be friendly with China, those seats are dominated by pro-China political parties. When Hong Kong was handed over to China in
1997, Hong Kong and China made an agreement that eventually, all members of the council
would be elected by the people. But that never happened. And ever since the handoff, pro-China parties
have controlled the LegCo, despite having never won more than 50 percent of the popular
vote. The way it’s structured, they want to make
sure that the executive branch can have easy control over it. And that would serve Beijing very well indeed. Within this unique structure, the extradition
bill has created new tensions and fueled anger among pro-democracy politicians. And it’s driven hundreds of thousands of
Hong Kongers into the streets. While this isn’t Hong Kong’s first protest
against China’s influence, it is the biggest. And many say this time is different, because of the people involved. Professionals like lawyers and politicians are participating. Our legal sector staged their biggest ever protest parade. But it’s young people who are at the forefront,
since they have the most to lose. They are the first generation born under One
Country Two Systems. And in 28 years when that arrangement ends,
they’ll be Hong Kong’s professional class. I won’t be around anymore. It’s their future. It’s their Hong Kong. They have every
right to fight it. The protests have convinced Hong Kong’s
government to suspend the bill. But that’s not enough. Many want the bill withdrawn completely. That’s because these protests are also part
of a larger fight. To push back against China’s encroachment
now, not just when time’s up. 2047 is on its way. But it’s not here yet. And until then, Hongkongers still have a voice. History will tell whether we succeed, but even if we failed, history would say they did put up a fight and they didn’t just take things lying down. And that’s what we’re trying to do too.

44 Replies to “Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained

  1. UPDATE 8/13/2019: Hong Kong's protests have escalated with canceled flights and police standoffs at Hong Kong's international airport. Read more: http://bit.ly/2OUZNB4

  2. I am so proud of these protesters and hope they spark something in all countries from other authoritarian countries and corporations

  3. Turning black and white upside down, now that a small number of mobs in Hong Kong are making terrorism, most people have the same heart. Hong Kong will always be a part of China, and no one can move!

  4. ccp a control freak nation wants to control everything and everyone. hope these people from HK wins but i know its wishful thinking.

  5. pet of English is better than China’s? is there any real democracy or vote before 1997? why nobody fihgt for hongkang at that time?These are absolute gangsters and slaves.

  6. My God china.. what else do u Want? Ur people are everywhere then u want Own everything. Even north scaborough shore who owns the Phils.. is that ur political strategy to grow??. . May we remind you. Ur not the only one who lives in this world..

  7. I think this would be more interesting if the people had guns. That would be fantastic. Pay attention America, if they take away your guns you're going to get hit on the head with a baton.

  8. This is where I live, where I want to be. The fact that we are doing this is not correct because they are doing things that is not necessary right now, I understand what they are doing but violence isn’t always the key…

  9. 作为媒体报道,你怎么不把这群所谓争取权益抗议的人的暴行剪辑出来?香港有多少市民,抗议的人事多少?你们没有看到他们在机场持续殴打内地游客超过4个小时到无意识,你们没有看到他们捆绑殴打记者的行为甚至还是盗刷该记者的信用卡,你们也没有看到这群人砸警察咬断警察手指,什么是和平争取权益??对你们来说这还没有上升到恐怖行为吗????还说你们了为让自己的视频媒体看起来很正义所以选择忽视这些暴行!!

  10. This is one of the way to put china on the knees. Corporation want take over and not give them go up. This is war between corporations and goverment.

  11. The british must be looking at these protests, kashmir protests, Palestine protests, balochistan protests etc etc and must be smirking.

  12. The WW3 is really possible because of this tension backed up with West Philippine Sea and other conflicts with China versus the USA. So both countries are planning war. In WW3 the axis as of now will be China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea and the allied force will be the rest of the world (UN). US is allergic to Communism so as Democratic countries.
    There is no absolute Communism! and Communism is not equality it is Oligarchy!

  13. So, are we expecting at July 1st, 2047, magic happened and HK is magically Chinese?

    The 50 years is to let HK slowly adjusting to become Chinese, to provide a buffer so people can adjust. Of course HK is "slowly" changing to become China in 50 years; or do you prefer a change over night on 2047-07-01! Either way, HK is doomed with this 2019 riot. Patience have run out on both sides after only 22 years.

  14. China has all the power over this sad island. You attack your own government, your own police force and your own country .. and you ask for more freedom? Those young people can’t even make a statement .. they deserve nothing except prison time. No brain and no honor!

  15. just one side of this story! why not to interview some policeman? why not to interview some mainland people who stay in Hongkong? you , as a media, just post what you want people to believe but not the truth!

  16. 香港是中国的一部分,香港的政府会处理好这个事情的。民主?所谓的西方民主也不是被镇压了?呵呵。

  17. Extradition bill is for criminals. Why protest for criminals? The video well explained the start reason of the protest, but it's now far beyond a protest. Which protest will show up brutal weapons?

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