Anger as protests in Hong Kong turn violent

Prepared: Many protesters use face masks or umbrellas to protect themselves from the police.

Will China ever be a democracy? This week, thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest a controversial new law. “The people’s voices are not being heard,” said one teenager.

What’s happening

Downtown Hong Kong, Wednesday afternoon. Thousands have gathered outside the city’s legislative council to protest a new extradition law. As things get more heated, the police tried to hold people back. They fire tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowds. The crowds throw bricks and traffic cones.

Find out more

The protesters are angry about a new law which would allow criminals in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trial. They worry that it could be used to punish people who have spoken out against the Chinese government.

Hong Kong is a territory in southeastern China. It was a British colony for 150 years. In 1997, control was handed over to China. However, Hong Kong kept a lot of its independence through an agreement called “one country, two systems”. It has its own government, courts and laws.

The people who live in Hong Kong have more freedom than those living in China. They are able to criticise the Chinese government more openly. Protesters fear the new law will be used to silence those critics.

Will China ever have a true democracy?

Some say…

No. It has been 30 years since China crushed pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Hundreds of people were killed. Since then, China has become less democratic, not more. It censors what its citizens can read online. Critics are imprisoned or tortured. Now, it is trying to impose these tactics on Hong Kong too. We should be worried.

Others think…

There is still a thirst for democracy in China, particularly among young people. Hong Kong’s leader, who supports the new law, compared the young protesters to stubborn children. That stubbornness is their strength. Even if the fight for democracy takes many more years, it means that they will not give up. This should give us hope for the future.

You Decide

  1. Why is democracy important?

Activities

  1. The freedom to protest peacefully is one of the signs of a strong democracy. Make a poster or placard which protests an issue you care about.

Some People Say...

“Hong Kong has created one of the most successful societies on Earth.”

Prince Charles

What do you think?

Word Watch

Legislative
Has power to make laws.
Extradition
Moving someone to the country where they commited a crime to face trial there.
Tear gas
A type of gas which causes severe eye pain. It is sometimes used against crowds.
Rubber bullets
Bullets made from rubber. They do not kill people.
Colony
A country under the control of another country.
Independence
Free from outside control.
Criticise
Find fault with.
Democracy
A government where citizens vote to elect politicians.
Beijing
The capital of China.
Censors
Silences or controls.

Subjects

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