I ask the people of Frankfort to show our solidarity with the young people of Hong Kong. These brave people are fighting to change a corrupted government.
You might have seen on the TV news about civil unrest in Hong Kong in recent weeks. This movement was sparked by an extradition bill put forward by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, herself a crony of Beijing.
Why did an extradition bill created such strong opposition?
Hong Kong became a British Crown Colony after winning the “Opium War” in 1842, whereas the British were “immoral” in selling opium to the Chinese. However, during her 150-year tenure, Britain turned this fishing village into an international financial center because of a government based on Rule of Law.
True to the spirit of law, and because part of Hong Kong was on a 99-year lease, which ended in 1997, in 1982, then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher began to negotiate with China, probably for an extension of the lease. But Deng Xiao-ping abruptly stopped her and he rightfully claimed back the sovereignty over Hong Kong. To stop the people and assets from leaving, he created “One Country, Two Systems” and promised a high degree of autonomy to Hong Kong.
However, these promises were broken, brutally. A handful of democratically elected lawmakers were eliminated by made-up excuses.
For example, one lawmaker was accused of being too slow in her swearing-in ceremony. Her seat was vacated. The chief executive was supposed to be elected by the people, but Carrie Lam was elected just by 1,200 special delegates.
Objection to this extradition bill is due to the mistrust of China’s judiciary system, which is working for the Communist Party instead of justice. Public confession, in exchange for lighter sentence, is a common sight. Most trials are so speedy that not even the defendants’ lawyers know about them, not to mention their families. Most believe this is a way to eliminate political opponents, or worse, business partners.
Unique in this movement is the involvement of teenagers, some as young as 16. Despite that, the Hong Kong Police used excessive force and brutality. This is unacceptable, and they should be held accountable for child abuse as well as human rights violations.
These young people are asking for a fair society with rule of law — and more autonomy from tightened control by the Chinese government. I ask you to join in pressuring the Hong Kong government to have a conversation with the protesters, to persuade our politicians to show our support to these brave young people and to pressure the Chinese government not to destroy Hong Kong.
Dr. Alexander C K Lai, who was born and raised in Hong Kong and came to the U.S. to study, is associate professor of biology at Kentucky State University and now a U.S. citizen. He can be reached at Alexander.Lai@kysu.edu.