A historical sight in Hong Kong

The city of Hong Kong’s population swelled through its streets to vent its anger over a controversial extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to stand trial in mainland China last month.

Nearly two million people took to the streets in the largest protest Hong Kong has ever seen. The Lens saw the historic scenes unfold as multi-lane roads became a single stream of people and the city’s metro system operated at full capacity as people queued to descend down escalators and into lengthy tunnels to journey to make their voices heard. 

Protesters stayed out well into the night chanting, occasionally breaking into song. In more sobering scenes, they also clutched bouquets of flowers and handmade origami flowers and cranes to pay tribute to a demonstrator who fell to his death prior to the mass protests after unfurling a banner.

While Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has suspended the contentious extradition bill, tensions are still running high and there have been a wave of protests over the past few weeks. On the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to Chinese rule, demonstrators clashed with police after trying to storm Hong Kong’s legislature.

On the anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong, Jeremy Hunt, the UK Foreign Secretary said the government’s commitment to the Sino-British Joint Declaration is “unwavering”, adding: “We strongly believe that upholding ‘One Country, Two Systems’ is the best way to ensure Hong Kong continues to play a vital role for China, and to continue its role and reputation as a global financial and trading centre for the rest of the world.”

With Hong Kong’s future in the global spotlight, the world now has yet another complication in the current criss-crossed international system of monitoring as questions around China’s global ambitions continue.