By THE BLUE AND GRAY EDITORIAL BOARD
Protests have been raging in Hong Kong since April of this year. They have been recently publicized in the US due to support from an NBA owner for the protests, causing China to retaliate by cancelling NBA games in the country. LeBron James supported China and received backlash for supporting a regime with many human rights abuses.
The protests started after an extradition bill was introduced that would allow for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances. Millions of distraught citizens believed that the bill would extend mainland China’s jurisdiction and legal system into Hong Kong, which would hurt their civil liberties. More so, the citizens feared potential abuse and injustices under the Chinese prison system, which has a long history of wrongdoing. This sparked massive protests that became increasingly violent in response to the methods of the Hong Kong police.
In late July, protesters stormed the Hong Kong parliament and the chambers were wrecked and spray-painted. In August protesters sat in the Hong Kong international airport which led to more violence by the police force and hundreds of flights were canceled. In October the extradition bill was withdrawn but the protesters believe this was too little too late and clashes continued.
The violence escalated when an 18-year-old protester was shot point-blank by a police officer. Protesters started using poles and small bombs to fight against the police. There have been two sides of the protesters, the more violent side, and those trying to peacefully demonstrate. So far there has been no clear leader of the protests. Many protesters have hidden their faces in fear of being targeted by Chinese facial recognition technology and retribution.
The protesters have five demands: for the protests not to be characterized as “riots”, amnesty for arrested protesters, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, implementation of complete universal suffrage, and the extradition bill to be fully withdrawn. While the extradition bill has been fully withdrawn, the protesters are still pushing for the remaining four.
The Blue & Gray Press stands with the Hong Kong protesters as they fight against China for freedom of speech and universal suffrage.
China has tried to silence support for the protests from canceling NBA events after the Houston Rockets owner, Daryl Morey, tweeted in support of the protests. China also put pressure on a US-owned and run company Blizzard to ban and take away the prize money of Blitzchung, a Hearthstone player, who voiced support for Hong Kong after an interview.
LeBron James spoke out against the protests saying that Daryl Morey should not have tweeted what he did as he was not educated on what was going on and that freedom of speech has some negative repercussions. LeBron angered many people and was said he stood for money after not supporting human rights in Hong Kong after using his status to promote social causes in the US.