Hong Kong’s huge protests, explained
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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.


  • Vox

    UPDATE 8/13/2019: Hong Kong's protests have escalated with canceled flights and police standoffs at Hong Kong's international airport. Read more: http://bit.ly/2OUZNB4

  • itz_me_ Sheii

    Thats why i hate china cause china wants to have philippines and hongkong even if they have SOOOO BIGGGG COUNTRYYY of course i understand that its over populated but that not an excuse to have places just like a spoiled kid.

    Stop it china. Stop pretending that you can have what you want.

  • Daniel Zhao

    Most countries and China have extradition agreements, and why Hong Kong is an exception.
    The Chinese government has long stated that the extradition agreement does not include political prisoners and other types. What Hong Kong people have to worry about.
    It can be seen from the support of some Hong Kong parliamentarians that this is a political struggle, similar to the Democratic Party and the Kuomintang in Taiwan.
    In addition, this riot that has no benefit to Hong Kong has been supported by some who will benefit from it. Who will profit if the process of China's rise is interrupted?

  • Yuki r1n

    Do y’all realize how long UK ‘have’ HK and how much they have influenced HK. HK was ‘given! To UK because China fight a ship that was sending drugs to China, but somehow that’s how China have debt towards the world and have to pay with Hk

  • Naroly Kim

    iron long stick
    high-energy laser pen
    iron shield
    molotov cocktails
    gas masks
    the mob have almost everything,but people still believe they are unarmed and the police shouldn’t do anything on them………
    Am I live in a world of blind man?

  • Liu Francis

    These protestors are using violence on the police force, biting off peaceful police officers fingers, kidnapping reporters, accumulating weapons. I don't see why you're portraying this in a positive way.

  • Shuihang Yu

    Why not mention the protesters badly attacking the police and the innocent people in the video?! Freedom or voting is not equal to VIOLENCE. BTW, there's no Hongkonger, only Chinese.

  • Yihao He

    The HongKong protestors use their inhuman way to treat other Hong Kong citizens and Chinese citizens. Hope we learn from the news are multiple dimensions, and it's not garble the truth.

  • topkinginer

    Remember everyone this is just Vox's liberal viewpoint. There are 2 sides to everything and these people at Vox always have a agenda.

  • yuanshuo du

    haha, why not ask "was there any democracy before hk returned back to China??" Answer: No, never. In the period of British ruling time, hundred years, HK's chief and grand justice were directly commissioned by British queen.

  • Bob Ramsay

    Could you imagine the economy of scale and progress if China could meet Hong Kong and Taiwan part way in a social democracy of some structural form. I think they are missing a huge world changing opportunity but that's just from my western perspective.

  • Chalie Hill

    Hong Kong is westernized, many people do not agree with China, but this is also Hong Kong's value to the mainland of China. The central government of China knows this well. In the past 20 years, the central government has never interfered in Hong Kong's affairs. But Hong Kong people, you hate mainlanders, tourists, water smugglers. Without tourists, what else does Hong Kong have besides real estate and finance? Your neighbor, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, has become an international metropolis and is developing rapidly.

  • Violet Kim

    Hong Kong belongs to Hong Kong. Can't trust China after learning about Tibet. Can't imagine a life where I'll be forever scrutinized by Big Brother.

  • zy LIU

    Hongkong never have the right of voting under biritish rule. Universal election is a right that they have never been given to. If they what to anti the extraction bill, they already succeeded. It is impossible to be independent from China, just as it's impossible for Las vegas to independent from America. Well there is no reason to keep the protest going as their activity are damaging people's normal life.

  • Brian Norman

    Ppl of Hong Kong.. Just made a big mistake this year… Now China army has already entered the city.. So what gonna do now HK.

  • Prop Dusty

    China is the most corrupt government in the world. It will implode way before 2047 just do to technical advancements. The same goes for North Korea.

  • Zhuohui Zhang

    I am very glad that this video has been translated into Chinese and I wish more people from Mainland China are able to see this video.

  • tang tang

    the moment you bit off that policeman's finger, things all changed, you hurt the police who protect you since you were born, holding American and British flags. what a shame

  • Peekaboo

    I feel bad for Hong Kong. Free from the British Empire to go straight under the opression of China. Just like Tibet. Then China uses force to shut them down. We are almost in 2020. How come nothing changed?

  • 鹿岛小鸽


  • BIN GU

    Hongkong violent riots will pay the price they can’t affordable eventually, and they will learn what the province mean. Hongkong teenager loser, shame for you.

  • 西西苏苏

    Very interesting. "Chinese legal system is used to arrest, punish and silence people who speak out against the state." But you can still see billions of Chinese people choosing to support the state and even the party. This is not brainwash, this is more like the superpower mind control thing by Pro.X. Even though there are so many Chinese students and travelers around the world. They've all seen what a democratic society looks like. But still, they all go back and keep loving their evil system. Maybe its time to stop focusing on how evil the system is, but what has the system done right. Otherwise, no one can beat it.

  • Sigh Kronmiller

    ??? Police should do even more. Protesters are costing innocent people their livelihoods and interfering with fire and medical emergencies. Do you want those events and deaths on your hands? Selfish and disgusting. Especially since the West is causing you to attack your own home so they don't have to! Thought before action!!

  • Commander Jake

    So sad that my home country is in caving inside it self ? and is braking every second I am with the protesters not with the police

  • Rachel Zhang

    So I actually am curious what will people in Hong Kong respond when 2047 comes. As the agreement said, mainland China will fully taken over Hong Kong by then.

  • Wayne Keef

    Don't be surprised to see those demon infested Chinese cut the privates off of those men in Hong Kong and take those women in Hong Kong for themselves. They would do the same thing in the United States if people ever give up their gun rights in the United States. You can not trust China, for they are the kings of the east mentioned in the book of Revelation.

  • Kun Li





  • The CheerFul Nobody

    We’re all so lucky to be born in the USA imagine being born in China North Korea or the areas In Africa with low water we take a lot for granted

  • Lu Zhang

    Later Beijing and Shanghai people may also protest, saying if not passing the law, murdering people in mainland and then escaping to Hong Kong is how you get away from murder which make them feel unsafe. Both sides will be holding the sign "democracy". What should the government do. Opinions?

  • Steph Mo

    They’re the only one protecting the world by China’s desire to dominate the world with their ideals and greed. Sending a part of me to help them prevent China from trying to bully the world into their submission. No thanks China I don’t like your old and cruel ideals!!!!

  • Amber Li

    It’s astonishing how you brushed off the fact that the protest is against a bill that would allow extradition of a freaking murderer and what that means to the family and the passed victim. It’s not surprising though how you left out the footage of these “peaceful” protestors beating up disagreeing pedestrians, throwing explosives at the police force and completely interrupting many public facilities disregard many other people of HK have different opinions. You make it sound like a sacred fight for freedom but really you are letting your illusions and accusations be the lead of actions—— guess you don’t need any actual proof to say that China will take the chance to abuse the power, and their burning desire to freedom overweighs anything even at the cost of using violence to hurt the innocent, letting criminals get away with murders, and propagating biases that you have no clue of. Is that really democracy? Or is that all just your fantasy. Shame on you, Protestors, shame on you, Vox.

  • Mr. Destruction

    all hong kong's GOV. has to do is to purpose a plan/agreement that says "if you do any crime , no matter the country you will be judged here or allied countries"
    and all this wouldn't happen

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