Many of you have certainly heard in recent days about the clashes between police and student demonstrators in Hong Kong. But what’s really going on? As is well known, Hong Kong is a state of its own but is a special administrative region of China.
It has its own currency, its own culture, its own political system and above all its judicial system, which includes the right to freedom of speech and of expression. Autonomy, however, has an expiration date: in 2047 it will lose the special permits of Hong Kong and China will be able to put its hands in the capitalist economic system and in the rights and freedoms of its citizens.
For an amendment to the law on extradition (the practice whereby a State delivers to another State an individual who is in its territory, but who is the object of a criminal action in the other). At the moment Hong Kong has extradition agreements with about twenty countries, but not with China. The amendment would have forced the region to hand over to China suspects from Beijing for certain crimes. Many people, however, saw the risk of new human rights violations, and the use of extradition by the Chinese as a pretext to reach political dissidents who had fled to Hong Kong (it was enough to accuse them of crimes and demand their extradition). On June 9, street protests officially began, with one million people taking to the streets.
The protesters demand the withdrawal of the amendment to the extradition law (which took place on 24 October); the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into police violence; universal suffrage; release and amnesty for arrested protesters; the elimination of the name of “rioters”. “Five requests, not one less”, is their slogan.