Weekly Report 1-7 June 2020

The Situation in Hong Kong

Along with loosening pandemic prevention measures in Hong Kong, a new round of protests began to take place. After several months of intense confrontations on the streets of the city, protesting a law which would allow for the extradition of citizens from Hong Kong to Mainland China, the year of 2019 was markedly tumultuous for the former British colony. However, these new protests are owed to the approval of a new law by the Chinese regime, which paves the way for the criminalization of “treason, secession, sedition and subversion”. Attempts had been made to implement a similar law in 2003, but after violent protests, the idea was abandoned.

The law in question includes also the possibility for Chinese authorities to act within the city under the scope of safeguarding national security in accordance with the law. Many journalists, activists and others fear that this would jeopardize their freedom of expression and possibly physical integrity, given the reports of silencing and suppression of this type of actor in China. They state that the Rule of Law in Hong Kong would come to an end and the Judicial System would no longer be independent, besides the clear limitation of citizens’ civil rights.

As a retaliation, the United States threaten to remove the special trade status of Hong Kong, which may be a strong blow to the Chinese regime, and the United Kingdom threatens to grant BON passports to 300 thousand citizens, so that they may have the right to British diplomatic protection. Both powers state that the new law calls into question Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Protests in the United States go global

Protests following racial tensions caused by the spreading of the video of George Floyd’s death took place in the United States. Many activists took to the streets, including the Black Lives Matter movement, protesting in almost all American cities. They demand reforms in the Judicial System, fighting institutional racist and police brutality against african-american communities. Several parallels were established with the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s, following violent confrontations between protesters and police. Despite most protests being peaceful, there were incidents of sacking and vandalism, leading police to mass arrests and the use of agressive crowd control methods, such as non-lethal bullets and tear gas.

President Trump’s response was controversial, by inciting violence against protesters and supporting the use of the Armed Forces as an alternative to the police. This led to criticism by international leaders. The Chinese and Iranian regimes, both authoritarian in nature and themselves under scrutiny in terms of Human Rights, wrote statements defending american protesters.

The protests quickly went global, with several peaceful protests taking place in major cities throughout the world, usually in front of US Embassies.

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