On June 17, 2019, protests erupted across the streets of Hong Kong against the Chinese extradition bill, a bill believed to threaten the sovereignty of Hong Kong as an independent state. While the Chinese government refused to withdraw the bill, the bill has now been formally revoked, yet the violence continues on.
Hong Kong is officially recognized under mainland China, yet due to English colonization in the late 1900s, Hong Kong is governed under unique conditions, separating itself from mainland China’s communist laws. As a result of such major differences, Hong Kong and China have a strained relationship which intensifies as time goes on. The extradition bill was the final push towards Hong Kong’s eruption of protests, expressing the many concerns its citizens have regarding the government. Such protests started off peacefully but escalated to a dire level of violence, bringing upon the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons– a boy has even died as a result.
Today, the extradition bill is officially scrapped in an attempt to pacify the discontent in Hong Kong; however, protests have become entrenched in Hong Kong and issues of police brutality continue to push the protestors. According to a 27-year-old protestor in Hong Kong, the withdrawal “[is] too little, too late” and that “there are still other demands the government need to meet, especially police brutality.” The issue of police brutality in Hong Kong has been revealed internationally through social media and news platforms. The brutal videos of Hong Kong contain the harsh methods of crowd-control that Chinese officials utilize causing many people to shun the Chinese governments.
Violence does not stop there. Arbitrary arrests have also been a common method for crowd-control, meaning that many people are being arrested for no legitimate reasons. These arrests led to police misconduct and torture of people in custody. Interviews of arrested individuals who have gone through such brutal treatments wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation from the government. These arrests all contained beating with batons, and fists, and sometimes included electrocuting in order to extract information.
The violence used in response to the Hong Kong protest is inhumane and immoral. The issues that Hong Kong faces against China are something that needs to resolved quickly before any more people become victims of the violence in the protests and arrests. It is crucial that the police officials in not just Hong Kong but all over the world find the balance between enforcing the law and deteriorating the human rights of an individual.