The right to govern and police one’s self, a philosophy so prized to Americans, is an idea equally as overlooked as it is taken for granted. This idea of sovereignty seems like an almost unattainable goal for those currently residing in Hong Kong today.
Historically a major British province up until 1997, Hong Kong is currently owned and under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China. The undeniably capitalist Hong Kong, that currently boasts the sixth largest Stock Exchange in the world, has recently landed itself in many disputes with the Chinese government, a still semi-communist establishment that has taken annoyance toward Hong Kong’s free-market system.
The heart of the dispute between Hong Kong and China lies within China’s recent disregard of a constitution made only twenty years ago, in which it states that for the first 50 years of its sovereignty, Hong Kong be allowed to “safeguard the rights and freedoms of its residents.”
The protests, which began back in June and aimed to challenge China’s unfair encroachment upon Hong Kong’s democratic rights, have been met with serious police opposition that has only worsened the political divide between the two governments.
Since the first protests back in June, there have been attacks on government buildings, hold-ups in Hong Kong International Airport, and many accounts of gruesome clashes between law enforcement and protesters.
One such account, a severe eye injury to a female protester caused by law enforcement officers, inspired a movement within the protest to continue their demonstration while wearing eye patches.
Ming Tsun “Nemo” Chau, a former GHS exchange student who currently resides in Hong Kong, describes the atmosphere and general thoughts of the citizens.
“The people of Hong Kong really hate the government and police… The police are often referred to as ‘Black Dogs’, or ‘dogs without a conscience’,”explains Chau.
“Lots of students are wearing black masks to school, which is a sign of support for protesters looking to liberate Hong Kong.”
With both Hong Kong and China’s government condemning the actions of the protesters, political change is going to be extremely difficult and tedious. Protests aren’t expected to stop anytime soon and will be met with continued, and maybe even worsened violent confrontations between the citizens of Hong Kong and the police.