Hong Kong is a previous British colony, but in 1997 it was returned to China under the “one country two systems” arrangement. This means that Hong Kong has self-government and some independence from the mainland.
The protests in Hong Kong started in June due to a bill that allows extradition to mainland China. The people of Hong Kong fears that deportation of criminal suspects to mainland China will undermine judicial independence and endanger protesters.
After the beginning of the protests, the situation escalated continuously, which lead to the bill being withdrawn in September. However, the demonstrations have continued; now the people are demanding full democracy and an inquiry into police actions. The clashes between the protesters and the police have become more and more violent, with police firing weapons and activists attacking officers.
Only a few days ago there was an election in Hong Kong, and months of social unrest and protests were going to play a big role in this election: Pan-democracy candidates won almost 90% of the district council seats. This was backed by a historically large voter turnout, where record-high 71.2% percent voted. The first-time voters, the youths, have been given much of the credit for the fact that 2.94 million people gave their votes.
It’s hard to say how this will affect the situation in Hong Kong in the upcoming time; until now the Chinese media have either made no references to the election results at all or they have made claims that there has been “tampering” of the results. However, I think the fact that the pan-democratic has a big majority in the council seats will lead to some better conditions, but politics takes time, and I think a situation like this will take more than a good election result to fix.
- BBC, (12. November 2019), The Hong Kong protests explained in 100 and 500 words, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-49317695, Downloaded 26.11.19
- BBC, (26. November 2019), Hong Kong elections: Chinese media attempt to downplay results, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50554912 Downloaded 27.11.19
- Tan, Huileng, (27. November 2019), Beijing finally responds to Hong Kong election results after big win for democrats, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/27/china-state-media-on-hong-kong-district-council-elections.html Downloaded 27.11.19