Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained


The people of Hong Kong are out in the streets. Hundreds of thousands are demonstrating against
a deeply unpopular bill. But this is about a whole lot more than a bill. It’s about the status of Hong Kong
and the power China has over it. It’s a fight to preserve the freedoms people
have here. And it all started with a murder. On February 8, 2018, a young couple, Chan
Tong Kai and Poon Hiu-Wing, went from their home in Hong Kong to Taiwan for a vacation. They stayed at the Purple Garden Hotel in
Taipei for nine days. But on February 17th only one of them returned
to Hong Kong. There, one month later, Chan confessed to
murdering his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time. But there was a problem. Hong Kong authorities couldn’t charge him
for murder, because he did it in Taiwan. And they couldn’t send him back to Taiwan
to be charged, because Hong Kong and Taiwan don’t have
an extradition agreement. So in 2019, Hong Kong’s government proposed
one: it would let them transfer suspects to Taiwan so they could be tried for their crimes. But the same bill would also allow extradition
to mainland China. Where there’s no fair trial, there’s no humane punishment, and there’s completely no separation
of powers. And that’s what sparked these protests. China and Hong Kong are two very different
places with a very complex political relationship. And the extradition bill threatens to give
China more power over Hong Kong. See, Hong Kong is technically a part of China. But it operates as a semi-autonomous region. It all began in the late 1800s, when China
lost a series of wars to Britain and ended up ceding Hong Kong for a period of 99 years. Hong Kong remained a British colony until
1997, when Britain gave it back to China, under a special agreement. It was called “One Country, Two Systems.” It made Hong Kong a part of China, but it
also said that Hong Kong would retain “a high degree of autonomy,” as well as democratic
freedoms like the right to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, of assembly. And that made Hong Kong very different from
mainland China, which is authoritarian: Citizens there don’t have the same freedoms. Its legal system is often used to arrest,
punish, and silence people who speak out against the state. But according to the agreement, One Country,
Two Systems wouldn’t last forever. In 2047, Hong Kong is expected to fully become
a part of China. The problem is, China isn’t waiting
for the deal to expire. Under the rule of Chinese leader Xi Jinping,
pro-democracy leaders have already been arrested in Hong Kong. And mysterious abductions of booksellers have
created a threat to free speech. But Hong Kong has been pushing back. In 2003, half a million Hongkongers successfully
fought legislation that would have punished speaking out against China. And in 2014, tens of thousands of protesters occupied the city for weeks to protest China’s influence over Hong Kong’s elections. Now, Hong Kongers are fighting the extradition
bill, because the bill is widely seen as the next
step in China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy. The sheer size of these protests shows you
just how much opposition there is to this bill. But if Hong Kong’s legislature votes on
the bill, it’ll probably pass. And that’s because of the unique nature
of Hong Kong’s democracy. For starters, Hong Kong’s people don’t
vote for their leader. The Chief Executive is selected by
a small committee and approved by China. And even though they’re the head of the
government, they don’t make the laws. That happens here. Like many democracies, Hong Kong has a legislature,
with democratically elected representatives. It’s called the Legislative Council, or
LegCo, and it has 70 seats. Within this system, Hong Kong has many political
parties, but they are mostly either pro-democracy or pro-China. In every election, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy
and anti-establishment parties have won the popular vote. But they occupy less than half of the seats
in the LegCo. This is because when Hong Kongers vote, they’re
only voting for these 40 of the 70 seats. The other 30 are chosen by the various business communities of Hong Kong. For example, one seat belongs to the finance
industry. One seat belongs to the medical industry. One belongs to the insurance industry. And so on. Many of these 30 seats are voted on by
corporations. And because big business has an incentive
to be friendly with China, those seats are dominated by pro-China political parties. When Hong Kong was handed over to China in
1997, Hong Kong and China made an agreement that eventually, all members of the council
would be elected by the people. But that never happened. And ever since the handoff, pro-China parties
have controlled the LegCo, despite having never won more than 50 percent of the popular
vote. The way it’s structured, they want to make
sure that the executive branch can have easy control over it. And that would serve Beijing very well indeed. Within this unique structure, the extradition
bill has created new tensions and fueled anger among pro-democracy politicians. And it’s driven hundreds of thousands of
Hong Kongers into the streets. While this isn’t Hong Kong’s first protest
against China’s influence, it is the biggest. And many say this time is different, because of the people involved. Professionals like lawyers and politicians are participating. Our legal sector staged their biggest ever protest parade. But it’s young people who are at the forefront,
since they have the most to lose. They are the first generation born under One
Country Two Systems. And in 28 years when that arrangement ends,
they’ll be Hong Kong’s professional class. I won’t be around anymore. It’s their future. It’s their Hong Kong. They have every
right to fight it. The protests have convinced Hong Kong’s
government to suspend the bill. But that’s not enough. Many want the bill withdrawn completely. That’s because these protests are also part
of a larger fight. To push back against China’s encroachment
now, not just when time’s up. 2047 is on its way. But it’s not here yet. And until then, Hongkongers still have a voice. History will tell whether we succeed, but even if we failed, history would say they did put up a fight and they didn’t just take things lying down. And that’s what we’re trying to do too.

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100 thoughts on “Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained

  1. UPDATE 8/22/19: Last weekend saw the largest peaceful march in Hong Kong since the start of the protests. Organizers say roughly 1.7 million people marched on the streets of Hong Kong.

    Vox's daily podcast, Today, Explained, breaks down the situation and its most recent developments:

    👉 Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3pXx5SXzXwJxnf4A5pWN2A

    👉 Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://applepodcasts.com/todayexplained

    👉 Listen on Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/today-explained/e/63398553

  2. Those pics used to explain AUTHORITARIAN are quite ridiculous.
    油管 perfectly illustrated what's the meaning of "don't have the same freedom to speak out against the 'authority'".
    Innocent H_K_ civilians were burned out with gasoline only because they spoke against those protesters. And 油管 deleted those videos and only shows how H_K_ police VIOLENTLY fought against to the protesters.
    What a moment in the human history. Shame for you.

  3. Okay I still don't understand can anyone explain to me in simple words ;-;
    I will thank you for you help for me to understand

  4. See I wish my school will tell me more about this and not something that happened 10,000 years ago that isn’t interesting

  5. This is a pretty big chapter in hk society. It is also great the youngster are doing this movement. But I am curious what happened to the dude who murdered his gf?

  6. I'm a Chinese. Is it right for the BBC and CNN to vilify China with baseless video clips or undecided things? It's also violent protests, why is the "international media" taking a different approach to Catalonia and Hong Kong? Why?

  7. If the chinese government can go back on their agreement just like that, anything they signed would be considered useless. Nobody will trust them. Also since they went back on the agreement, the agreement is void and hong kong should already be back to being under the rule of britain.

  8. 民主?一群沙雕,被当枪使,国家改革开放30年发展这么快,人民富裕安康国际地位越来越高,这就是事实。当走狗当惯了,想立国那就滚出去,自己当你麻痹的总统,瞎几把尽捣乱

  9. One year ago, a friend from Hong Kong told me three drunk people punched him on the street in London. He asked why and they told him just because you are yellow. My friend didn't fight back but ran away. Now the Hong Kong people are asking China government to treat them as white, not yellow.

  10. The whole video shows a strong guide to let people do not trust in their governments and fight for what will not do good to them. Democracy should only be democracy but not an excuse to let some people with an ulterior motive get power and fool the citizens.

  11. You know they should not protest because eventually, they are going to forget about what they are protesting for and they would get in trouble but still Carrie Lam should step down.

  12. BUT WHY DID THEY ATTACK RANDOM CITIZENS IF THEY ARE HELPING AND ATTACKING MTR STATIONS
    IF THEY ATTACK MTR STATIONS PEOPLE CANT WORK OR GO TO SCHOOL
    AND THEY ATTACK TRAFIC LIGHTS AND BLOCKING RANDOM RORDS
    THEY ARE NOT SAVING HONGKONG THEY ARE ATTACKING HONGKONG
    AND STOP BLAMING POLICE THEY ARE JUST TAKING ORDERS

  13. In 21st Century, can a Tiny place like Hong Kong upheld Mighty China, one of the most active Superpowers of The World. Say it Economy,or Power,and presence in World scenario.will UN or any Organisation/Country would like to help HK, going against China…

  14. I am so confused people in general want freedom. So how is it that this governments come to power if majority of people want freedom. I just don’t get it I mean shirt it’s more of them than the government

  15. "China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy and its suppression of pro-democracy voices in recent years have fueled opposition, with many protesters now seeing the current demonstrations as Hong Kong’s last stand to preserve its freedoms."

  16. "Hong konergers" They're Cantonese. I wish VOX would do a little more research because this is one of the most important revolutions in modern history

  17. The world knows not to trust the regime of China. Hong Kong should be granted a sovereign city-state like Singapore. Hong Kong can survive without China.

  18. "Autonomy" means capitalism but they can't say it.
    "Authoritarian, legal system that punishes those who speak out against the state" means Communism/Socialism. But they can't say it.

  19. 废物青年还有理了,看看现任的英国首相和美国滑稽总统,事实来说大量人民都是愚蠢的,精英领导才能强国。到打仗的时候你们就明白了,弟弟们,历史没学好。

  20. This video is kind of "ONE SIDE". I can see from the title and the "evidence" or the behind message that tries to tell us. Even my English teacher has taught us in our debate or Argumentative essay. Use evidence to let people agree with your point but you have to show "both sides of the point of view" not just ONLY ONE side or else is not a debate essay just an essay about your own personal option. Not showing both sides of the evidence just like you not letting people choose what they want or what they want to believe.

  21. i hate how people are taking this as a joke in the comments. us hongkongers are actually really hurt. we suffer everyday now because of how bad its become. so please stop making jokes about this and this future nonsense. we get it.

  22. So are these Hong Kongers essentially saving this murderer, that was mentioned in the beginning of the video, from facing punishment in Taiwan? Shouldn’t that individual be extradited? I understand this one case does not apply to all citizens but he should still be given a punishment

  23. Update: the government has already used the emergency law to directly pass another horrible law and completely ignored the Legislative Council.

  24. The free and peaceful demonstration released a murderer, so did the victims sacrifice themselves for lofty goals? Should the parents of the victims be proud of it? Did you not care about human nature when discussing politics?Or murder doesn't exist…..

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