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Why the protest does not falter in Hong Kong

After 22 weekends of demonstrations, the mobilization does not seem to slow down and the rallies degenerate more and more often in violent clashes with the police forces.

Five months of mobilization. In Hong Kong, the protest does not weaken and the quasi-daily actions become more and more violent. Last incident: death, vFriday, November 8, Alex Chow, a 22-year-old computer science student. The young man had been found a few days earlier, lying in a pool of blood inside a parking lot, near which clashes had occurred between the police and the demonstrators.

First mobilized by a bill to facilitate extradition to Mainland China, finally withdrawn on September 4, Hong Kong people continue to protest massively. Franceinfo explains why.

Because the protesters' demands have evolved

“No to extradition.” In early June, protesters rose up against a very controversial text, wanted by the Hong Kong executive and which, if passed, would have allowed the island to extradite its residents to mainland China. If the Hong Kong authorities wanted the law to allow the region to no longer serve as a haven for some criminals, opponents feared a political use of these extraditions by Beijing. First suspended, the text was finally withdrawn in September.

But this announcement did not calm the anger of the protesters. Today, the mobilization aggregates a battery of claims, including the fight against inequalities and an investigation into the attitude of the police. Among them also, the establishment of a real universal suffrage, which echoes the movement of Umbrellas in 2014, during which the financial heart of the city had been occupied for 79 days by hundreds of people, mainly young people. The government did not bend when faced with the street's desire to establish democracy.

Because the interference of Beijing in the affairs of the country is tangible

Although the head of the Hong Kong executive, Carrie Lam, has announced several economic and social measures to calm the game (housing construction, relaxation of home loans, increased aid), no political concession has been granted. And even less about the role of Beijing in the affairs of the island.

“Hong Kong is not China!” has thus become one of the watchwords of protesters, who believe that their political system is subservient to Beijing. Since 1997, the status of Hong Kong has been “Special Administrative Region”. The city with 7.4 million inhabitants is in fact governed by the principle “one country, two systems”. Thus, it is under Chinese sovereignty, but has political, legislative, legal and financial structures different from those of the Middle Kingdom. Some people in Hong Kong, however, feel that the retrocession agreement and the famous “one country, two systems” principle are no longer respected.

For example, the Hong Kong Chief Executive is elected by a 1,200-member committee called “The Little Circle”. The latter are directly chosen by Beijing and each elected member of the Legislative Council (the local Parliament) must pledge allegiance to the central government. In 2016, prodemocracy deputies had been dismissed because they refused to pronounce this oath correctly. Carrie Lam, the current leader, in office since 2017, crystallizes the anger of the protesters, because it symbolizes all the influence of Beijing and its politics. Hong Kong people keep asking for his resignation.

Because freedoms recede and laws harden

In the wake of the removal of some deputies, the government invalidated the end of October the candidacy of Joshua Wong, figure of the movement, in local elections in Hong Kong. According to the executive, the young man defended “Self-determination” of Hong Kong, which is contrary to the spirit of the basic law of the former British colony. He can not therefore become a representative of the people.

Sign of a hardening of laws, the Hong Kong authorities have banned Friday, October 4, the wearing of masks in public, masks that the protesters used to wear to avoid being sued. Carrie Lam invoked an emergency law that had not been used since 1967. “We believe that the new law will act as a deterrent to violent demonstrators and masked rioters, and assist the police in its policing mission”, she said. This law, which dates back to colonial times, does not require a vote of the Legislative Council.

As soon as this ban is announced, hundreds of protesters decided to brave her, gathering in the city center, a mask on her face. They also took advantage of Halloween, Thursday, October 31, to march masked throughout the island.

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