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Hong Kong Protest: Umbrella Revolution 2019 [Mains Articles]

In the summer of 2019 Hong Kong has been shaken by prolonged protests, ostensibly regarding the issue of amendments to the extradition law but with deeper roots in the discontent of large parts of the population.
By IT's Mains Articles Team
December 03, 2019


  • Introduction
  • What are the Hong Kong Protests?
  • Principle of One country, two system
  • How does this affect the rest of the world?
  • What is Umbrella Revolution?
  • District Councils of Hong Kong
  • Conclusion

Hong Kong Protest: Umbrella Revolution 2019

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The Hong Kong protests, started in June 2019 demanding the withdrawal of extradition bill which would have allowed the extradition of fugitives in mainland China, exploded into city’s biggest political crisis in modern times.  

What are the Hong Kong Protests?


  • In February 2019, the Honk Kong government proposed extradition-bill, which allows criminal suspects of Honk Kong to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances.
  • After intense oppose, the bill was withdrawn in October 2019.

Reason for opposition of this Bill

Opponents of bill said that this bill,

  • Risked exposing Hongkongers to unfair trials and violent
  • Would give China greater influence over Hong Kong and could be used to target activists and journalists.
  • Allow China to encroach on the rare freedoms which is allowed in Hong Kong like freedom of press, speech etc.

The protest leads the protestors demand five major actions from the government.

Five demands of the protestors

  • Fully withdraw the extradition bill
  • Set up an independent inquiry to probe police brutality
  • Withdraw a characterization of early protests as “riots”
  • Release those arrested at protests
  • Implement universal suffragein Hong Kong

Principle of One country, two system


  • As a special administrative region, Hong Kong maintains separate governing and economic systems from that of mainland China under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’.


One country, two system 1

  • The British took over Hong Kong in the 1840s during the Opium Wars.
  • To further extend British colony, in 1898, British signed an agreement in which China leased ‘New Territories’ (one of the three main region of Hong Kong) to Britain for 99 years, which was expired in 1997. Britain agreed to return Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, on the promise that China would give Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” for 50 years (until 2047).
  • In the deal, it was decided that China wouldn’t impose its government on Hong Kong and Honk Kong would remain a semi-autonomous region under the ‘Basic Law’ (Mini-Constitution) for 50 years. This setup became known as the “one country, two systems” rule.
  • There is a relatively free press, an unregulated Internet and a less-controlled judiciary in Hong Kong

How does this affect the rest of the world?

  • Hong Kong is a global financial hub, so a downfall in its economy affects business worldwide as well.
  • If the unrest continues, international companies might relocate from Hong Kong
  • A mass exodus could follow, and other countries could see migrants incoming from Hong Kong.
  • Potential migration of people to other countries as many Hong Kong citizens hold foreign passports

What is Umbrella Revolution?


  • The recent protest is the further extension of the ‘2014 Umbrella Revolution of Hong Kong’. The name ‘Umbrella revolution’ arose from the use of umbrellas as a tool to resist the Hong Kong police’s use of pepper spray.
  • In Hong King, an election committee votes and selects the chief executive of Honk Kong, However, the china decides the members of that committee.
  • The Umbrella Revolution was about getting the ‘Universal Suffrage’ that Hong Kong was promised in the Basic Law, when china took over Honk Kong in 1997. In 2007, the standing committee of China’s legislature said that in 2017, the chief executive will be elected by universal suffrage.
  • However, in 2014, china clarified that election committee would pick two or three candidates, who would then be eligible to run in a general election.
  • This resulted in protests as there is still major influence of election committee (whose members are elected by china) and absence of true Universal suffrage.

District Councils of Hong Kong

Why it was in News?

  • To show the true implementation of Universal suffrage in Honk Kong’s main election, Hong Kongers recently delivered a resounding blow to the city’s political establishment, when the district council elections saw record turnout and an unprecedented victory for the pro-democracy camp.
  • The District Councils are only authority in the city being selected by full universal suffrage. Hong Kong’s district councils have little power, and their elections generally attract little interest.


The Hong Kong Government was paralysed by indecision, failed to grasp the changed expectations of Hong Kong people, and stunned by the realisation of the extent of discontent amongst the population. The crisis signalled that changes in the approach to governance are urgently needed to satisfy the needs of an increasingly sophisticated Hong Kong society. Though the extradition bill is withdrawn, protest have continued in the global financial hub with demands for greater democracy.


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