The protest for the democratic rights of the people of Hong Kong is not new to the world. This is going on since the year 2019 after a bill was passed to allow the extradition of Hong Kong to mainland China. Though the authorities have withdrawn the bill, the protestors are still high on their spirit demanding full democratic rights and an investigation of police brutality on them. While many protestors have been arrested and some of them are even attacked by the police force since the beginning of the protest, the usual gathering had to subside after the pandemic set in. But the protestors are in no mood to slog off and now they chose to wear yellow masks to show their protesting side. The Hong Kong district judge, though, enforced a law by not allowing people to wear the yellow mask or put any slogan inside the courtroom as it doesn’t want to be part of any political disputes.
Why did the protest begin in the first place?
The Hong Kong protest started back in 2019 when the “extradition bill” was passed by the government to take away the democratic rights of Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” ruling. Hong Kong was ruled by the British till the year 1997 after which it was given back to China but it acted as an autonomous body that had its own rules to follow. It was the democratic right of the people of Hong Kong to be under this government ruling system.
It was attacked by the government in 2019 when it passed the bill which would have taken away this “autonomous functioning” of Hong Kong. After the decision was enforced, people started showing agitations in big numbers which led to clashes between them and the police. Shortly after the massive protest, the bill was withdrawn in the month of September but the agitators still continue for the demand of their full democratic rights and an investigation into the police-people fiasco.
The demand of the protesters that landed some of them into an asylum
At this point of time, though the bill has been withdrawn, several democracy lovers are still high on protest for getting back their lost rights. They have a set motto of “five demands, not one less” in which they are demanding five things from the government that includes
- An independent inquiry of the police brutality that took place during the protest
- Amnesty for the arrested protesters
- The protests must not be characterized as “riots”
- Implementation of a “complete universal” suffrage
- The fifth demand is the withdrawal of the bill that has already been fulfilled by the government.
The protestors are so raged that some of them even ended up in an asylum as per the latest reports. A few protestors were arrested by the Hong Kong police after which they fled and went to the US to take shelter in an asylum. The founder of Hong Kong democracy council, Samuel Chu said, “The activists, all under the age of 30, took part in the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, faced protest-related arrests and charges, and fled the city by boat last July”.
He further added, “I am relieved and overjoyed to welcome them to the United States and to assist them as they seek asylum and a new life. Their desperate effort exemplifies the rapidly deteriorating human rights condition and growing humanitarian crisis Hong Kong is in right now”. Apart from them, almost around 50 such protestors have applied for a shelter under different jurisdictions after having been convicted by the police force during their protest rallies.
District judge prevent wearing a yellow mask inside the courtroom
Due to the covid 19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdown periods in almost all nations, social gatherings have been discontinued for a while. Thus, physical protests cannot be maintained due to these contradictions. But even though the protests in social gatherings have been exempted, the ones fighting for their democratic rights are showing their protests by wearing yellow masks while going outside.
Some people are also showing their protest through slogans and wearing yellow because it is a way to show they are anti-government. These people are wearing yellow inside courtrooms also, due to which the district judge has said that it will not be allowed inside the courtroom as it is not a place to protest.
The district judge said, “I saw members of the public inside the courtroom wearing yellow masks with political demands printed on them. I do not want the court to become a venue for expressing political demands, so I instructed my clerk to urge them to change their masks”.
He further added that this will allow him to focus more on other legal issues as the protest will distract him from the main issues that need more attention. “The court’s order is not relevant to the style or colour of face masks, nor does it amount to a value judgment on the political beliefs or demands such masks embody. I am not barring any members of the public from attending court hearings because of their political or religious beliefs”, he concluded.
The PolicyTimes suggestion
- The democratic rights of every individual must be well taken care of by the government of Hong Kong to prevent the protest from happening. From providing the autonomous facilities to looking after fulfilling their demands the Hong Kong government must ensure the common people are not outraged anyhow.
- In contrast, the protestors must also be more appealing with their demands and consider the fact that the bill has already been withdrawn by the government, and thus, they must not show more aggression. Peaceful protest during the time of the pandemic is expected from the citizens.