Protests have continued in the Chinese city of Hong Kong since last September, after several students boycotted classes to show how they disagree with the Chinese government’s handling of the city after Hong Kong received independence from Great Britain in 1997.
Hong Kong was supposed to become the People’s Republic of China’s first special administrative region, under a code of: “One country, two systems.” This was set up to give Hong Kong a more democratic government than China. The city’s government was supposed to make its own laws, and elect people to govern them without input from China’s government. However, the Chinese government did not hold up their end of the deal when they tried to put their people into power in Hong Kong.
In September of 2014 about 100 citizens, led by Joshua Wong, started protesting in front of a government building in an attempt to reclaim a local park for the people. The protest was mostly peaceful. Later in the day, the local police forces surrounded the protesters to try to remove them. Most of the protestors left, and those who stayed were carried away by four or more police officers each.
After the original 100 protesters the group gained more than 10,000 other followers who filled the streets and camped out in the parks. The protests started off peacefully, with some protesters staying to clean up the streets after marches.
The protests became violent when the Chinese government decided to put an end to them. The police forces were met with the sticks and stones of the protesters. Protesters used large metal sheets to block the police out of the streets. This became the first protest since 2005 in which police forces used tear gas on protesters.
The Chinese government used censorship in an attempt to hide these protest from the rest of the country through controlling what websites aired on the issue. The government began a purge of all the news stories, pictures, videos and other information from Chinese websites.
The United Nations got involved with the protests, urging the Chinese government to give Hong Kong free elections. They threatened sanctions against China if they did not give the city they freedom they have been promised in 1997.
The protest seems to have died down since last December, with many of its leaders still held in prison. The protest leaders not imprisoned are speaking out, encouraging other protesters to stand down and wait for China to make their next move.
The protests has started a war on social media with two opposing sides. The yellow group (pro-protest) vs. the blue group (anti-protest). A study that found that 57% of 850 people surveyed thought that the protests were good for the city. The blue group is blaming recent violence on the protesters, saying that they have forced the police to strengthen their law enforcement.
– Xan Daven-Thomas