Let’s talk about important business news today. U.S. President, Donald Trump signed two bills backing Hong Kong protesters on Wednesday, 27th November 2019. These laws had been passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives a week before Trump signed it. The main idea of these laws is to preserve Hong Kong’s rights and autonomy. However, there is a part of the law that might end up hurting not only China’s economy but also the U.S. and Hong Kong.
To know why this news has become an important business news today, we need to look back to the history of Hong Kong. Since 1997, Hong Kong has been a part of the Chinese government, with one nation two systems policy. These former British colony got its special autonomy because of the deal made by the U.K. and China in 1997, which in results, allow Hong Kong to govern themselves for at least 50 years after the deal was made. Due to its autonomy, Hong Kong has always been more democratic and liberal than China in any way. However, this autonomy, which should last until 2047, had been threatened by the Chinese government in recent years.
In April 2019, the Chinese government introduces its new law into Hong Kong, the so-called ‘extradition bill’. This law would allow the Chinese government to extradited criminal suspects into mainland China to be punished there. Since introduced, this law had been opposed by almost everyone in Hong Kong, as they argued that it would lead to unfair trials targeted to activists and journalists. This law would also bring greater influence to China over Hong Kong politics, something that China agreed to not interfere at least until 2047. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people protesting against this law for weeks and took it out to the streets. After a series of uncontrolled protests, leader Carrie Lam eventually suspends the law from being imposed.
Things Got Intense
The cancelation of the extradition bill didn’t satisfy the protesters in a way that is expected to be. They feared that the bill just being delayed for a moment and will find its way back to the public. Protesters continued the demonstrations and demanded the government to withdraw the bill completely. However, the government responded by using the police to break up the protesters, which make the clashes between police and protesters become inevitable. Day by day, things get more intense between protesters and the government. More and more people were getting injured as the government refused to comply with protester’s requests. In September 2019, the government eventually give up and withdraw the bill, which according to the protesters, it was too little and too late.
The protesters keep protesting against the government even though the bill had been withdrawn completely. As China celebrates 70 years of Communist Party power, Hong Kong suffered from a horrifying act from the officers, which resulted in multiple casualties among the demonstrators. Protesters demand five things from the government, which they adapted into their motto, which is “Five demands, not one less!”. To put it simply, protesters want the protest to not classified as a riot, giving amnesty to arrested demonstrators, independent inquiry against police brutality, implementing complete universal voting rights, and the last demand, which is the withdrawal of the bill already fulfilled by the government.
This news has become an important business news today because it could probably trigger a new chapter of the U.S.-China Trade War. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 is a law made by the United States to minimize China’s interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. This law is signed by U.S. President, Donald Trump, in order to maintain good relations with Hong Kong, as this city has a good economic relation to the United States. However, by doing so, the United States compromised its relation to mainland China, which might lead to another trade war between these countries. The impact of this law will also impact Hong Kong’s autonomy, which will bring uncertainty to global economic growth.