Inalienable Rights for Hong Kong?

Citizens of Hong Kong are protesting a bill that would allow the Chinese government to extradite Hong Kong citizens to China should they commit a crime on China soil.

Citizens of Hong Kong are protesting a bill that would allow the Chinese government to extradite Hong Kong citizens to China should they commit a crime on China soil.

In 2019, the Hong Kong government proposed a bill that would allow for extradition to both Taiwan and China. However, according to Pro-Democracy Legislator Claudia Mo, China fails to institute fair legal practices, no separations of powers, and known for torturing those in custody. She holds the opinion that anyone facing trial in China faces a death sentence of justice. The relationship between Hong Kong and China is complicated being we have two different types of societies interacting with each other, authoritative and democratic. These tensions further escalated by the fact that China 'owns' Hong Kong - sort of...

You must understand that despite Hong Kong being part of China, they have operated as a semi-autonomous region under the rule of Great Britain for the last hundred years. At the conclusion of the war between Great Britain and China in 1898, they signed an agreement stating, for 99 years, Hong Kong would fall under the rule of Great Britain and the citizens of Hong Kong would have all the rights of their citizens, such as independent thought, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, voting rights, which, compared to China's Authoritative state, is a rather liberal set of human rights.

Fast forward to 1997 when the second part of the agreement took effect, Great Britain had to turn back control of Hong Kong to China under the system, "One Country, Two Systems". This means Hong Kong retains its current way of life and rights, with very little interference from China AND Greet Britain.

What's the problem? Well, the citizens of Hong Kong fear two things, one the removal of their rights in court due to the extradition law and the looming third part of the agreement -- in 2047, Hong Kong will be completely absorbed into China once again.

Think about that... a child born in Hong Kong grows with the freedom to speak their mind without free of imprisonment. We, in America, know no other way of life and could not fathom the idea of Uncle Sam arresting us for shooting "fight the man" on a corner soapbox. Now, our 20-year-old living in Hong Kong believes with all their heart and soul they, too, have freedom of speech and a right to a fair trial. 

But unlike their American peers, they realize when they are absorbed into the China authoritative society at the age of 48, all their rights as a Hong Kong citizen will be stripped from them, all due to an agreement made between two governments over a hundred years ago. JUST LIKE THAT. A Hong Kong citizen, with freedom of speech, with the right to vote, and with the right to assemble peacefully, will now be a Chinese citizen with very little freedom of speech, right to vote, and assemble peacefully against oppression --- all due to an agreement on a piece of paper from over 100 years ago, and of course combined that with the rest of the governments of the world agreeing its legit.

Think about that... people from a hundred years ago sat around a table and decided their future, many of whom are longed past and belonged to an era unlike our own. 

Do the people of Hong Kong have the right to remove agreements set forth by these people and establish their own will, their own way of life, despite documents written over 100s of years ago?

Kelly Perez, Adjunct Professor