The movement begins on March 15, 2019 in reaction to a so-called “extradition” bill. Hong Kong has a special status that gives it great legal autonomy. With this law, any person living or passing through Hong Kong suspected of being directly or indirectly linked to an activity deemed criminal by China will be able to be extradited to China. Legal autonomy is thus greatly reduced. Moreover, the activities deemed criminal by China do not stop at terrorism but also cover journalists and any other political opponent of the Chinese regime by the concept of “foreign influence”. The Hong Kong population would then be under constant fear of the Chinese dictatorship, which would represent a definite threat to the freedom and security of its citizens.
Moreover, the very strong social inequalities and the misery present in the country favor the social explosion. On March 15, many citizens gathered and held a sit-in at the central government complex. The activists demanded the withdrawal of the amendment to the extradition law. Demonstrations were organized from March 31 and grew in size: on June 9, a day of strike, 1.3 million demonstrators took to the streets to express their anger.  The government then recognized the demonstrations but reaffirmed the holding of the second reading of the project on June 12. That day, a strike was again called and a large demonstration took place. During these demonstrations, the Hong Kong police used a large quantity of tear gas (sometimes in closed areas) and rubber bullets.  Journalists are often the target of police violence and social networks are used to divert media censorship.
On June 15, the head of government announced the suspension of the bill, but the demonstrations did not abate and citizens now demanded the resignation of the head of government and the condemnation of police violence. The release of the detainees was also demanded.
On July 1, the Legislative Council was besieged by protesters.
The movement began to lose steam in July 2019, but demonstrations continued for several months with broad demands : the introduction of universal suffrage, the creation of a commission of inquiry into police violence, the dissolution of the Legislative Council, etc. An important aspect of the movement is its lack of a leader and hierarchical organization.
Demonstrations of solidarity with the Hong Kong people are taking place in many countries : Canada, the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium…
The Chinese government has expressed its support for the Hong Kong Chief Executive. Beijing has even offered to deploy the army in Hong Kong if it wishes, in order to restore order.
Taiwan‘s president has expressed support for the Hong Kong protesters, seeing a similarity between Hong Kong and her country and wanting to preserve democracy in both countries.
Many governments have affirmed their support for the Hong Kong people or at least called for the maximum avoidance of violence in this movement (reaction to police violence).
The United States supports the demonstrations and is putting economic and diplomatic pressure on China and Hong Kong. However, during the G20, Donald Trump proposed to the Chinese president to stop all American support to the Hong Kong demonstrations in exchange for the resumption of discussions on trade agreements with China. His proposal was unsuccessful, and the US government passed several laws aimed at promoting Hong Kong’s autonomy and going against the extradition law.
Amnesty International denounced the excessive use of force by the Hong Kong police on the demonstrators. According to the international organization, the government is violating international human rights law.
Injured : more than 2600
Arrests : 10,000
Trials : 2 210
~1.5 million demonstrators on June 16

Last update : 28/12/2021

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