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Hong Kong Rolling Into Abyss

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Hong Kong Rolling Into Abyss

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The protests in Hong Kong initially began in connection to a now-cancelled extradition bill, that was proposed in February 2019. They have spiraled entirely out of control, sending the city into a recession that could bring about the end of Hong Kong as the world knows it.

Back then, Hong Kong’s Security Bureau proposes amendments to extradition laws that would allow extraditions to countries, including mainland China. Prior to that, and following the cancellation of the bill, Hong Kong only has extradition treaties with 20 countries.

The first protest took place on March 31st, thousands were in attendance, protesting against the “evil” China extradition law, no mention of democracy during the protests was made. It was attributed to the protesters by MSM.

On April 3rd, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced amendments to the extradition laws that would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Weeks later, on April 28th, thousands took to the streets and marched on the Legislative Council to demand the scrapping of the bill, there was no violence and the demonstrations were peaceful.

On May 11th, lawmakers in Hong Kong’s parliament scuffled in parliament during discussions on the extradition bill, showing that there were splinters within the Hong Kong authorities. On May 30th concessions were introduced to the bill, but critics said they weren’t enough.

On June 6th, more than 3,000 Hong Kong lawyers dressed in black took part in a protest march.

On June 9th, there was a large-scale daytime protest, ahead of the extradition bill’s second reading. Reports suggested it could have been the largest ever, and certainly the largest protest Hong Kong has seen since the 1997 handover, surpassing the turnout seen at mass rallies in support of the Tiananmen protests of 1989 and July 1st demonstration of 2003. CHRF (Civil Human Rights Front) convenor Jimmy Sham said that 1.03 million people attended the march, while the police put the crowd at 240,000 at its peak

On June 12th, the extradition bill’s second reading, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas for the first time, during the city’s largest and most violent protests in recent years, most, if not all government offices were shut. On the same day, the protests were classified as “riots.”

On June 15th, Carrie Lam indefinitely postponed the extradition law, but it wasn’t enough. On June 18th, Carrie Lam issued a public apology.

On June 16th, an estimated 2 million protesters march, demanding a full withdrawal of the bill and Lam’s resignation. Many criticized the alleged police brutality.

On June 20th, student and pro-democracy groups give Lam an ultimatum to respond to their demands to withdraw the bill, resign, and investigate alleged police brutality. Lam does not respond. On June 21st, Thousands of protesters surround the police headquarters, blocking police from leaving. Protesters throw eggs, but the protest ends peacefully.

On July 1st, protesters stormed the Legislative Council on the 22nd handover from British to Chinese rule, destroying pictures and daubing walls with graffiti. Protesters also defaced the Hong Kong flag. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

On July 9th, Carrie Lam announced that the extradition bill was officially “dead” and that the government work on it had resulted in a complete failure.

From then on there were various protests, with China demanding that individuals who protested are suspended from work, among other things, the protests continue turning more violent.

On September 4th, Lam announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill. But it appeared to be too late.

On September 17th, she pledged to hold open dialogue with protesters, and on September 26th she was trapped inside a stadium for hours, by protesters, after her first “open dialogue.”

Escalations continue following that, with police shooting an 18-year-old protester in the chest on October 1st, marking the first time a live round was used.

On October 23rd, the extradition bill is officially withdrawn. Since then violence has progressively ramped up, with a man with a knife partially biting off the ear of a politician on November 4th.

As of November 11th, Hong Kong appears to be in a state of chaos. In some cases, police officers are put in the situation when they are forced to use live rounds against rioters.

On the same day, protesters set a man on fire, simply for disagreeing with them.

Following that, daytime protests continued on November 12th, with rioters setting fires and police responding with rubber bullets and tear gas.

The situation is spiraling out of control and it is unclear if the Hong Kong authorities can deal with it, since they’ve been incapable of dealing with it thus far. The rioters are attacking people, setting fires and destroying property and the authorities are at a loss to respond.

Both the Chinese government and the local HK authorities showed significant restraint in responding to protesters. But it appears that red lines were crossed by rioters and the response may also be ramped up.

Even “the Putin regime” in Russia didn’t use live rounds (or even rubber bullets) against protesters in Moscow. It simply contained the protests and persecuted those that attempted to stir violence.

The Hong Kong authorities have already gone past that step and it has proven completely ineffective and the current situation may be a turning point in the situation.

Since October 31st, Hong Kong is officially in a state of recession and it is likely that the current, November 11th – 12th events mark the collapse of Hong Kong that the world has known. The situation continues escalating and circumstances may lead to an even harsher response.

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