Image – Earnesttse/Earnesttse
As someone raised in Hong Kong, it breaks my heart to see my hometown in such turmoil. I understand issues important to both Hong Kong residents and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Namely, Hong Kong residents who are not raised under the PRC regime and are used to the freedom they have, and now rightfully fearful of what it would be like when China takes over Hong Kong entirely in 2047. Under the “Sino-British Joint Declaration” signed by the UK and the PRC on December 19, 1984, and registered with United Nations on June 12, 1985, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region. It is supposed to remain largely unchanged for fifty years until 2047 under the Hong Kong Basic Law agreed upon by both countries. So, it is understandable that Hong Kong residents are now fearful as they see China exerting its influence over Hong Kong before that date, and more fearful of how their lives will be impacted when the PRC takes full control of the territory in 2047.
On the other hand, I also understand the PRC’s position. Hong Kong was taken forcibly from China by England as a result of the Opium War. By doing so, England would have a base near China to continue its opium business that were killing millions of addicts it created in China. After decades of hard struggle, the PRC has risen to Super-Power status today, and it, rightfully, feels that these unfair treaties forced upon them be undone. They want Hong Kong, Kowloon, and The New Territories to be returned to their “motherland,” regardless of the regime.
The PRC has not been shy about exerting its influence over Hong Kong since the Handover in 1997. I was there for the ceremonies. While it is justifiable to criticize its action as being against the spirit of the agreed-upon Basic Law, I can see why the PRC feels the need to gradually “condition” Hong Kong residents to its full control of the territories in the near future. My guess is that it would be much more difficult for Hong Kong residents to adjust to PRC’s full control overnight on July 1, 2047, when they have lived under a completely free society up to that point. Perhaps it is a strategy the PRC is executing to bring Hong Kong into its fold gradually.
I only wish both sides would work things out and not resort to extreme solutions.