Hong Kong protests causing tension worldwide


Kaylee Aguilar

Protests against the Chinese government are currently in action in Hong Kong. They initially began as a result of the extradition bill which has since been withdrawn. Violence as a result of the protests led to a decline in the economy of Hong Kong.

Camila Villarreal, Staff Writer

Since March 2019, Hong Kong has been in disarray over the newly introduced extradition bill, which would allow for those accused or convicted of a crime to be transported to mainland China. 

The protesters’ main argument is that the Hong Kong legal system is different than the rest of the country due to its previous attachment to Great Britain before 1997. China and Hong Kong have been upholding the, “one country, two systems” agreement, which permits Hong Kong to maintain its semi-democratic ways. This law is set to expire in 2047, but protesters argue that the extradition bill is the beginning of mainland China’s infringement on their rights and worry that this could potentially target political activists, too. 

“Hong Kong has never really been part of China,” Coppell High School junior Bella Null said. “My mother speaks Mandarin, which is the language of mainland China, and Hong Kong citizens respond to her in English because they don’t want to associate themselves with the rest of the country. I understand why Hong Kong is doing what it’s doing because both [parts of China] hardly interact.”

The law, now withdrawn, was initially proposed to prosecute a man who was wanted in Taiwan for killing his girlfriend and has since been the key event motivating the miles-long protest. With the protests came violence using lethal weapons and a great divide between Chinese mainlanders and the protesters whose complaints have reached brands, celebrities and government officials worldwide. 

“My family frequently watches the Hong Kong news, and our opinion is that the protests are pretty dumb,” CHS junior and Hong Kong emigrant Ivan Lau said. “The Chinese government is doing everything [it] can to keep things under control, but there’s a lot of unnecessary violence happening.”

Domestic protests such as these rarely have such a massive impact on other countries, but because China is also dealing with the U.S.-China trade relations, the Hong Kong economy hit a recession in November. The loss of consumer spending and tourist revenue paired with a loss of exports caused a drop in the GDP and annual growth rate. 

Protesters have also thrown U.S. companies and celebrities in the crossfire. Apple and Google were both criticized for apps that trivialize the issue or show insensitivity, Versace was rebuked for printing Hong Kong as its own country on the back of a T-shirt and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of the Hong Kong protest drew criticism throughout the NBA.

Asian communities in Coppell hold varying opinions on the matter. Their country of origin may affect their feelings about it. For Taiwanese CHS Chinese teacher Andrea Voelker, her thoughts sympathize with the young protesters. Currently, Taiwan is in the midst of presidential elections and much of the country urges the Chinese government to listen to the people of Hong Kong. 

“One party of the presidential election uses Hong Kong to their advantage by telling the people that they can avoid becoming like Hong Kong by voting for them,” Voelker said. “It does concern me to see so much bloodshed. I can see both sides of the issue, but these people are protesting for freedom. It’s going to be a really difficult situation because the protesters are so determined, and the government isn’t stepping back either. The election in Taiwan is very important because it will show what side the Taiwanese people want to take.”

Follow Camila Villarreal (@fliipthewriter) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.