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.

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

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  2. CCP is EVIL. I have lost all respect for China. This has permanently changed my thoughts about every aspect of China, CCP, PLA and most anything Xi says and does. Nothing good is coming out of what the Chinazi are doing.

  3. I see a lot of people commented like these things happening in HK are jokes to them. shame so what happens when your freedom has taken away suddenly

  4. China has trouble with all its neighbours including japan and india. All she likes is the terrorist nation pakistan

  5. The most weird thing about this video is that it did not mention any detailed terms of the extradition bill, but only claimed that it was bad.

  6. You only value freedom when you already are on the verge of loosing it. Same thing is happening in india where this dictatorial rule to curb out anyone who is against their decisions. You will be tagged as antinational and there is a change of getting lynched by their right wing hindutva militant orgs. Its not that democracies are failing around the world but people who were suppressing hate in their heart and minds are slowly letring it out and becoming mainstream. And a major reason for that also goes to media for being boot lickers of the govt and not being responsible towards the people.

  7. if only the civilians of hong kong had something like the second amendment to defend themselves from a tyrannical government

  8. China should have learn from India. invading Goa in full force and kicking out the imperialist government. who even remember Goa today?

  9. wrongly explained by a few ppl explained here at the beginning of this clip. the law going to be passed (eg.) Not affect all ppl in HK, only if you against certain laws. and so on too much to say I feel too tired to list here.

  10. If your protest slogan is, we know 2047 is coming, but it doesn't have to come now, you already lost. Give, Liberty or Death a try.

  11. All these violent protests make me wonder, isn’t Hong Kong a part of China only with autonomous rule in its political sphere by law?????

  12. China has had this coming for a long time. I hope this brings about the destruction of tyrannical countries for future generations. Long live Hong Kong!

  13. What a silly video. Hong kong is technically and literally part of China, what on earth you westerns would like to cut in and say something for so called "Democracy"?

  14. yesterday, where I live, the protests were right under my apartment complex so I couldn't sleep. I was petrfied. (I live in hong kong)

  15. On October 7, tens of thousands of demonstrators embarked on the streets of major cities around the world to protest against climate change. New York police arrested nearly 100 people in one day. The London police in the United Kingdom arrested 276 people that day and the Dutch police arrested more than 100 people. This is a testament to the double standards of the West. Ms. Pelosi of the House of Representatives was beaten again and again. Hong Kong thugs should feel lucky that they met the gentlest police in the world.

  16. Why don't u show the gangster side of the protesters, and all the suffering anti-protesters, who makes MOST of Hong Kong, and since youre going into detail… what about the actual contents of the extradition bill? Talk about police brutality… what would police in Alabama hv done by now lolz

  17. Im enough for those protestor. "HKer" u better stay colony by UK, dont forget u got no human right and democracy under that period, thats only way calm u down. How sad r u. U r be SPOIL so much. If u have independent in case, who will support u electricity, food, gas, etc… who will give u military protection? China gov didnt let u pay the taxes since 1997. Is that happen in any other individual city? Gov let u manager by urself which improve ur local society and Econ. It wont be wait to 2047, if u keep yelling, China will give up u. Look at Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc… U r not the focus of China in future.

  18. The only real Chinese democracy since Dr Sun Yat Sen is Taiwan, physical fights are a common sight during parliament debates, yet Taiwan’s infrastructure and salary scale have not improved since the 1980s. Hong Kong was a remote island ceded to Britain as an aftermath of the Nanking treaty, thanks to the opium war. The cessation period expired in 1997 and UK returned HK back to China. Now HK still wants to be managed in UK style democracy for another 50 years as agreed. The best solution now is, have a real election next year where all 7-8 million of HK citizens vote for the new government as they have wished. Meantime, stop all protests and start forming political parties. Who will be funding these new parties? Welcome to the real world of democracy.

  19. If you did not have back way, attacking innocent people, destroying public facilities and obstrcuting the roads are all you can do? Please clean up the trashes you left on the streets first! Dude, you all are adults. Building up is better than destruction.

  20. Hong Kong people have to respect Chinese law n order as it's a part of China n proud to be with a strong country

  21. All this is British false. Divide Hundu and Muslim,North korea south korea, north vietnam south vietam,taiwan honhkong and china..what more u name it

  22. Wait…. so no one from Hong Kong ever.. like never ever did any crime in China or Taiwan before until 2018 since the 19s?

  23. "I won't be around anymore…. it's their future, it's their Hong Kong, they have every right to fight it."
    I legit started crying at this.

  24. Although the man should be strung up by his toes for killing his girlfriend, these citizens are right in their protests and the fight for the common good of all people and rule of law in their country. Although democracies across the globe will not all have a textbook model for one size fits all approach the threat of tyranny does. And the outcome for those who fall under that type of regime will succeed in recognizing its citizens as human beings. Hong Kong do not give up!

  25. a guy tried to drive trough a public road and he accidentally crashed into a woman that was protesting, you know what they did? they took the 60 year old driver out and beat him up

  26. I don't understand why they proposed a bill indefinitely allowing extradition to China. Couldn't they just arrange a one time deal so the murderer could face sentencing for his crime?

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