The civil movement that the Hong Kong government’s attempt to amend the extradition bill triggered has lasted for two months. According to a survey of 1007 Hong Kong residents that the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute Limited (HKPORI) conducted, 90 percent of young people believe that their dissatisfaction comes from a distrust of the central government.
Among the 1,007 Hong Kong residents above the age of 14 that HKPORI interviewed in July, 81 percent showed no trust in the central government. The proportion of those who did not trust in “one country, two systems” or the Hong Kong chief executive was 75 percent. In particular, among the 14 through 29 age group, those distrusting the Chinese government was as high as 91 percent. The proportion against “one country, two systems” or the chief executive was 86 percent and 84 percent respectively. They believe that chief executive Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong police, and the central government are the main factors contributing to the current crisis.
Guo Wenhao, a young community activist, told RFA that young people in Hong Kong no longer think that the SAR government can speak for them, but that it has instead become a yes-man for Beijing:
“With so many protests in Hong Kong in the past, the SAR government has never spoken out for the Hong Kong people. The controversies about the amendment to the extradition bill have been going on for so long. However, the government’s response is to condemn the demonstrators. How could young people trust the government? Nowadays many young people feel that they are farther and farther away from the central government. At the same time the central government has intervened and exerted influence nonstop. The Beijing government has sabotaged the freedom of speech and judicial independence that we previously enjoyed in Hong Kong. Everyone is worried about whether we will become like the dissidents in China; they are worried about whether we will be arrested for ‘inciting the subversion of state power’ whenever we express our opposition to the Chinese government.”
Yao-Yuan Yeh, a professor at the Center for International Studies at the University of St. Thomas, said that a large number of young people in Hong Kong protested the revision of the extradition bill because their sense of deprivation has reached a peak point.
“People born before 1997 can personally feel the difference between the British and the Chinese governance of Hong Kong. Under which regime do people enjoy freedom and dignity? Those born after 1997 have access to free and open information, and know the situation in other countries. China has always wanted to transform or destroy the original political institutions in Hong Kong. With such a contrast, people have developed a sense of deprivation, and as a result they feel angry.”
Source: Radio Free Asia, August 6, 2019