The #HongKong protests began in June 2019 in opposition to a proposed extradition to mainland #China. Critics feared this could undermine judicial independence, endanger dissidents and target activists and journalists. When the people of Hong Kong raised their voices to demand their rights, Beijing imposed a draconian National Security Law on the city, put top pro-democracy leaders behind bars, and dismantled the city's free press and civil society. The demonstrations escalated into a much broader and prolonged anti-government movement that resulted in increasingly violent clashes between protesters and police across the city. For instance, an 18-year-old was shot in the chest with a live bullet as protesters fought officers with poles, petrol bombs and other projectiles.
Some protesters have adopted the motto: "Five demands, not one less!" These are for the protests not to be termed as a riot, amnesty for arrested protestors, an independent inquiry into police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, withdrawal of the bill. The social unrest continued to simmer amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down parts of the town.
The fight for #democracy had become even more challenging since May 2022, when John Lee, the only candidate, took the Chief Executive position in Hong Kong. Outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam says, "Hong Kong is as free as ever," but international rankings show it plummeting to 148th worldwide regarding human rights and press freedom.
When Hong Kong was given back to China in 1997 by the British, its autonomy was supposed to be guaranteed by the "one country, two systems" framework. However, it is now evident that Hong Kong and Beijing authorities no longer view democratic participation, fundamental #freedom, and independent media as part of this vision.