Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests

Kiran Ridley

Introduction

Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests: The Revolution of Our Time

“Fight for freedom! Stand with Hong Kong!” – these words crystallize the powerful and bewildering call, echoed by hundreds of thousands of people, pounding the pavement in Hong Kong defiantly, since the first reading of Hong Kong proposed extradition bill which would allow Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China. It triggered an unprecedented wave of reaction both domestically and abroad with many fearing the erosion of Hong Kong’s legal system, democratic freedom and built-in safeguards as promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

On June 9th 2019, an estimated one million people marched to the government headquarters to in protest against the proposed bill followed one week later by an even bigger of protest of over 2 million people, nearly a third of the territories population, taking to the streets to protest against the Bill. Since that day, Hong Kong has been plunged into a political crisis, with waves of demonstrations and violent clashes between Police and protestors. What started as a protest against the proposed government extradition, morphed into a wider call for democratic rights and freedom recovery in the semi-autonomous city, transforming everyday Hong Kong life into a cauldron of tear gas as disidentification with “Chineseness” in the city-state continued to grow with young people overwhelmingly regarding themselves as Hong Kongese, not Chinese and continued to search for ways to express how they feel over their vanishing, threatened home.

Protestors’ call for ‘5 Demands’ remained at the heart of the protests: the withdrawal of the bill allowing extradition to China, the release of protesters from prison; repealing the classification of protests as riots; an independent investigation into police violence; and universal suffrage.

My series documents the social movement that swept through Hong Kong, fluctuating between pacifism and frustrated violence, despair and societal pain, the clash between two systems, and their “Fight for Freedom”.

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