In 1997, Hong Kong returned to sovereignty after decades of British occupation.
Since its agreed upon freedom, Hong Kong has faced countless social, political and economic issues.
Hong Kong is technically in Chinese geographic territory but was to remain a free state, separate from most of Chinese rule, until 2047, as discussed by the British and Chinese treaty.
Despite this agreement, China has grown increasingly involved in Hong Kong’s politics, sparking several protests that have ignited movements such as the Umbrella Protest.
Protests like this bring into question what we consider fundamental rights – freedom of speech, the right to vote, the ability to remain sovereign and even the right to choose their own leader.
In 2017, Hong Kong’s new leader, Carrie Lam, was appointed by the Chinese government.
Since then, Hong Kong’s people have become progressively outraged, protesting regularly.
These “free-state” protesters have been rumored to go missing.
Many them owned pro-Hong Kong newspapers or small businesses, which were all shut down and never heard from again.
The missing people are allegedly being held in Chinese prisons.
Additionally, Lam has recently begun to employ “stern law enforcement” to “stop the violence and chaos,” says Canadian media source Thomson Reuters.
This “stern” law enforcement includes shooting people with rubber bullets, beating protesters and firing water cannons.
More recently, protesters have asked the U.S. to get involved in ensuring Hong Kong remains free from China.
President Trump declined to become further involved, calling the situation “tough and sticky.”
I find it an easy cop-out to describe a global oppression of rights as “tough and sticky.”
Funny how Trump calls the situation “tough and sticky” but remains wrapped up in a trade deal with the oppressor.
Despite Trump’s decision to impose harsh tariffs on goods from China, the U.S. has many economic connections with China and will never truly be able to sever ties.
Countries who provide one another’s income will not risk economic profit, even when human rights violations begin occurring.
This partially explains Trump’s refusal to act.
China’s aggressive political actions, like claiming independent territories as their own, is more than just a difference of governing styles.
The U.S. should be cognizant of other nations threatening civil rights, but instead, we’re enforcing the idea that it is OK to infringe on personal freedoms by not speaking out against China.
This disregard of human rights violations is utterly disturbing coming from a free nation.
China has even chosen to place troops along Hong Kong’s border.
This disregard of the 1997 treaty is a major cause for concern.
Trump cannot stay silent while thousands of Hong Kong’s residents are peacefully protesting for democratic freedom, and China responds violently.
Turning a blind eye is an irresponsible, weak act on the U.S.’s part.
As an economically and socially powerful country, the U.S. has a duty to use its platform and stand up for oppressed people.
If Trump chooses not to respond to China and implore it to act respectively of a free people, then what message do we send?
We cannot allow another strong nation to take advantage of sovereign territories.
This pattern of ignoring global aggression has been repeated throughout our county’s history and often leads to unnecessary wars.
Trump must understand his global role if he truly wishes to cut ties with China and begin doing so by demanding it leave Hong Kong alone.
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