KATELYNN BARKLEY WRITES — To protest or not to protest? In Hong Kong, this has become a loaded question. On August 17, Hong Kong’s high court sentenced the pro-democratic, Umbrella Movement leaders, Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, to several months in jail.
The Chinese media has branded the Umbrella movement and its “protesters as ‘traitors’ and ‘trouble makers’ who must be ‘thoroughly eliminated.’” Hong Kong’s threat is real and the government has made it clear that they will no longer tolerate protestors’ actions.
Despite the Umbrella Movement’s attempt to hold peaceful protests and establish a new political party called Demosisto, protesters and supporters continue to be targeted.
Protester kidnappings, disappearances, and prosecutions stem from the Chinese Communist Party’s complete disregard of Hong Kong’s 1997 mini-constitution, “The Basic Law.” The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration established “The Basic Law,” which guarantees that Hong Kong be permitted to salvage citizens’ right to universal suffrage until 2047.
This concept should reinforce the “one country, two systems” principle. However, if the CCP continues to ignore the agreement, and if Hong Kong begins to succumb to mainland administration, the principle becomes obsolete. This situation raises awareness about the struggle between progressive versus regressive thought in Hong Kong’s local government as opposed to the mainland government.
Although there is a struggle, Hong Kong’s youth refuses to forego their possession of basic rights, such as suffrage. The government might try to silence the people, but the people’s passion for democracy persists nonetheless.