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Update on the Protests in Hong Kong

On the 31st of March this year protests erupted in Hong Kong. Triggered by the introduction of an extradition bill, the people of Hong Kong feared that the new legislation opened the doors for the Chinese judiciary to extradite Hong Kong citizens and prosecute them under mainland Chinese laws.

Overtime, the bill began to be viewed as symbolic of the growing presence and control the Chinese Communist Party has in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has experienced protests before. However, the ‘Occupy Central’ movement in 2014 and the protests after the 1997 handover of Hong Kong back to China suddenly seemed meek when after only two weeks police were using tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to control crowds.
Despite Chief Executive Carrie Lam announcing that the bill has officially been dropped, protests continue for the eighth month in a row. Pressure on the Hong Kong government is growing, and questions have been raised regarding the British government’s responsibility, as the previous colonial governor of Hong Kong, to intervene.

On Friday 18th of October, Dr Andreas Fulda from the University of Nottingham School of Politics and International Relations, attended an academic roundtable led by Director of the FCO Hong Kong Task Force. Dr Fulda shared his analysis of the complex situation in Hong Kong and provided 10 detailed policy recommendations for the British government. See the full policy list here:

Dr Fulda’s policy advice was based on 547 online suggestions via predominantly Hong Kong based twitter users. Speaking of the social media turn out, Dr Fulda commented on twitter “I’d like to thank you all for sharing so many great ideas with me. Your responses reveal the vitality of Hong Kong’s democracy movement.

With recent reports suggesting that China is set to replace Carrie Lam with an interim chief executive, some are expecting the new leader to give protesters a reason to stop. But with Beijing keen to quash the unrest as soon as possible, it is likely that the incoming executive will be even more hard-line than his/her predecessor.

Aidan Hall

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