Short and simple history of Hong Kong and its protests

One Country, Two Systems

Hong Kong was under British rule as a UK colony until 1997, when it was handed over to mainland China with the agreement that Hong Kong would retain its capitalist system with freedoms of speech and a separate legal system. Hong Kong would not be forced to conform to mainland China’s socialist system for 50 years.

This “one country, two systems” agreement guaranteed Hong Kong’s way of life.

Tiananmen Square

For example, written reports, classroom discussions and even casual mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square slaughter of (hundreds? thousands?) of protestors in Beijing by the Chinese military is punishable by imprisonment in mainland China. In Hong Kong, residents can commemorate the event.

Tank Man is an iconic photo of a man staring down a line of tanks exiting Tiananmen Square.

Will a Tiananmen Square crackdown repeat itself in Hong Kong?

The Tiananmen Square crackdown was internationally condemned, and led to sanctions by the UK and US governments, which set back China’s efforts for global participation and recognition. China has recently amped up its efforts to have those sanctions lifted as its economic, political and military power has grown.

Mainland China has so far not involved its military in the Hong Kong protests.

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