China backs down over Hong Kong protests

al sahawat times HONG KONG

China backs down over the Hong Kong Protests

China’s Premier Li Keqiang has said Beijing supports the Hong Kong government “to end the violence and chaos”.

He is the most senior Chinese official to comment on the unrest which has rocked Hong Kong for months.

His comments came during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing.

The controversial extradition laws that sparked the protests have since been withdrawn and will not enter law in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has seen months of often-violent protests calling for greater autonomy from China following the announcement of the controversial extradition law. The law was to mean that anyone suspected of committing a crime in mainland China could be extradited automatically from Hong Kong to face justice in Chinese courts.

The protests were sparked by changes to a law that would allow extradition to mainland China, but have since widened to include calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality and demands for greater democracy.

What did the Chinese premier say?

In August, China had likened to protests to terrorism, warning activists not to “underestimate the firm resolve” of the Beijing government.

Li Keqiang, China’s second highest-ranking leader, told reporters on Friday: “The Chinese government unswervingly safeguards ‘one country, two systems’ and ‘Hong Kong people govern Hong Kong people’.”

He said China backed Hong Kong “to end the violence and chaos in accordance with the law, to return to order, which is to safeguard Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability”.

He said the world “needs to believe that the Chinese people have the ability and wisdom to handle their own matters well”.

Why is Hong Kong separate form China

  1. 1841 | The UK invaded and annexed Hong Kong island and expanded gradually into surrounding areas of Guangdong.
  2. 1898 | China agreed to negotiate a peace treaty which saw Hong Kong and the surrounding areas leased rent free to the UK for 99 year.
  3. 1941-1945 | The UK lost Hong Kong to Japan.
  4. 1997 | The lease expired and Hong Kong was returned to chine with the explicit condition that total Chinese rule would be slowly reintroduced over 50 years allowing a gradually decreasing level of autonomy in Hong Kong until total Chinese rule returns in 2047.
  5. 2047 | Hong Kong will return to China and total Chinese rule. Something that many Cantonese speaking people in Hong Kong are unhappy with, despite the 50 years they have been given to prepare and adjust.

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About the Author

Omar Bishara
Journalist, Broadcast News Correspondent and Photojournalist