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Hong Kong on the brink: On continuing protests (Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; IOBR)

Why did the protests begin in Hong Kong?
Protests broke out in Hong Kong two months ago when local authorities proposed a Bill that would have allowed them to extradite suspects to places with which the city doesn’t have extradition treaties, including mainland China.

Impact of the protests
The Bill was suspended amid public anger, but the protests, now entering the tenth week, continue to rock the city, affecting the economy and setting off an unprecedented political crisis. People, from construction workers to teachers and lawyers, have joined the demonstrations. Graffiti appeared across the city calling for “a revolution” and “liberation” of Hong Kong. Despite warnings from both the city government and Beijing, the protesters don’t seem to be in a mood to leave the streets.

What are the new demands?
It is no longer about the extradition Bill. The bill is already dead.  Protestors have made a host of demands — withdraw the Bill, order an independent probe into the clashes between protesters and police, drop all charges on the arrested protesters and start the process to reform the electoral system.

What should be done?
The protesters on the other side took an excessively provocative path when they ransacked the city Parliament and attacked the police. What could have been a peaceful protest against an extradition Bill led to the biggest political crisis Hong Kong has seen since it was handed over to China by the British colonialists. At least now, the focus of both the local leadership and protesters should shift to finding common ground and a peaceful settlement. It’s in everyone’s interest to arrest the slide of Hong Kong.

(Source:https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/hong-kong-on-the-brink/article28984792.ece)



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