Why have protests hit Hong Kong and where will they end?


Hong Kong has this summer faced the worst political turmoil since its handover to China in 1997.

Residents first poured onto the streets to protest an extradition proposal that would send suspects to face trial in China, where the Communist Party controls the courts.

When city leaders failed to defuse tensions, police sought to curtail the largely peaceful rallies by shooting tear gas, rubber bullets and foam rounds – a serious escalation in a city long known for being one of the safest places in the world.

Protesters believe that because the extradition proposal has only been suspended, and not formally withdrawn, lawmakers could still quickly table and pass the legislation.

Their demands have since grown to include the resignation of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, an independent commission to investigate police brutality, and wider political reforms to allow for residents to directly elect its leader.

Britain’s response

During the leadership race, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt called on Beijing to uphold the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which guaranteed freedoms for at least 50 years in the territory after its handover.

But many residents say liberties have sharply eroded, especially since Xi Jinping took power as the head of the Communist Party in 2012.


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