Quick guide: Hong Kong protests


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Chris Urias, photographer, arts & politics reporter

What started as protests against legislation has snowballed into ongoing protests in the streets of Hong Kong. Our reporter, Chris Urias, explains:

Why are the people of Hong Kong protesting?

In March of 2019, Hong Kong, a special administration state of China, passed a highly controversial bill that allowed China to extradite criminals to Hong Kong for trials. The people of Hong Kong are fighting back by violently protesting against authorities.

Hong Kong is a part of China, but they both operate under their own governments. The citizens of Hong Kong believe this bill is impeding their right to operate their own legal system. Many people from around the world have criticized China’s judicial system, and the residents of Hong Kong don’t want their legal system exposed to China.

The protests

At first, the protests were peaceful, with participants marching in the name of democracy, with up to 1 million protesters showing up.

In the protests after the initial demonstrations, Hong Kong protesters and Hong Kong police begin to clash. The city of Hong Kong started to classify the demonstrations as riots, which the protesters wanted changed.

Many more protests ended up taking place afterwards, both peaceful and violent.


Causeway Bridge, Hong Kong. This was the main protest, in which more than 1 million people marched to get rid of the Extradition Bill.

What have the demonstrations accomplished?

On Sept. 4, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, proposed a withdrawal of the Extradition Bill.

This is a big accomplishment for the protesters, but they still want more done. Since the protests started, the participants have added to their lists of goals.

2019 Hong Kong Protest Goals (unaccomplished):

  1. Retraction of the characterization of the protests as “riots”
  2. The full resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam
  3. Universal suffrage for The Legislative Council of Hong Kong
  4. Establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into police behavior
  5. Release and exoneration of arrested protesters

What does China think of what’s happening in Hong Kong?

World superpower The People’s Republic of China is reacting to the protests by naming the demonstrators “terrorists.” Unfortunately, this puts Hong Kong in the same group as Tibet and other territories China nears.

China has also been pointing their finger at the US, saying that US officials have been interfering with the minds of residents of Hong Kong.

There have been Pro-democratic protesters waving the American flag at their demonstrations as a symbol of what system they’ve been fighting for.

What’s going to happen in the future because of these protests? Only time will tell– but the conflicts continue to escalate between the police and the protester. With huge historical moments like these, there are just way too many factors to consider.