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China, Hong Kong and Free Speech – Viewpoints

China, Hong Kong and Free Speech - Viewpoints

Hundreds of protestors stormed the Hong Kong legislative building before police stepped in and fired tear gas and took control of the situation. We sourced several articles including the FT, attributed to Wong and Liu, and we encourage everyone to learn more about Hong Kong, the handover from the UK in 1997 and the free speech challenges that face Beijing now.

This current protest is part of a series that started when the government proposed a law that would allow extradition of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to China. Demonstrators are demanding full withdrawal of the bill, but for now Beijing is suspending the bill until further notice. This most recent protest saw as many as 550,000 protestors take to the streets – but note that those who broke into the legislative building spray painted the walls with slogans and did destroy property.

Our Views: This is the 22nd anniversary of the Hong Kong handover to China. China of course has more conservative views about how to run a society and for those who have traveled to Hong Kong, one of our partners has been there over 30 times for visits and at one point spent time on business related visits. The people are well educated, many speak English and have traveled abroad.

They seem to think differently than those born and raised in Beijing. Also, China has a social credit system in which the citizens are graded and scored, allowing them to travel freely around the country. A person with a weak score will not be able to participate in some areas of society, which impacts education and marriage as well as employment.

There will be a long transition to China rule and there will likely be more demonstrations like the ones this past week, we hope they are non-violent. We encourage you to read about Hong Kong, its history and the handover to China. 

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