People want to be free!

Free to do what they love and free to avoid what they hate. This is the fundamental building block of being a conservative. The people of Hong Kong are no different except they live in an extremely different world that is a delicate balance between communism and their freedom.

The background of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a case study for the free market. With all of its history, Hong Kong has come out on top as a beacon for what people can accomplish without the central control and command of an overreaching government. They are in a constant struggle to keep that freedom alive.

As women who have inherited freedom on the blood, sweat, and tears of those who came before us, it is our responsibility to understand our system and to protect and preserve it. ​Take time to learn how the free enterprise system has lifted more people out of poverty around the world than any other system of government including Hong Kong. ​It is our greatest gift to the next generation to be able to share and explain the gifts of the free market.

The history of Hong Kong is intriguing and includes opium, war and a promise of freedom. The quick take is the British took control over Hong Kong in 1842 after the First Opium War.

Starting in 1842, over a 56 year period, China would lose control over all three regions of Hong Kong to the British. In 1898, ​Britain was awarded a rent-free, 99-year lease on these three territories. Hong Kong then began taking in immigrants fleeing from China. Why? I am assuming they didn’t like living under the oppressive rule of a dynasty.

If you want a quick read on the history of China and Hong Kong ​National Geographic ​has a good one about their unique arrangement of one country two systems.

So why are they protesting today?

Extradition is the simple answer. ​Starting with five book shop owners in Hong Kong who were speaking out about communism only to disappear and then be imprisoned in China for their offenses. This event was a blow for free speech in Hong Kong. In fact, it heightened the awareness of its citizens of China’s desire for control over the territory.

This mistrust in government has been growing since the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Back then, protests were led by students who were calling for democracy, free speech and free press in China. The Chinese government shut the protests down using force and killed an estimate of thousands.

Now, the mistrust continues with the extradition law that has caused recent protests in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong resident traveled to Taiwan with his girlfriend where he murdered her and returned to Hong Kong. Because there are no extradition laws between Taiwan and Hong Kong, the murderer will never face trial in Taiwan. This man will literally get away with murder. Carrie Lam, the current leader of Hong Kong, believed these new extradition laws would keep Hong Kong from being a place where criminals could hide. The people of Hong Kong see these laws as a way for China to have more control over them and anyone outspoken about communism.  They, along with the protesters believe that this law would would extend the power of the Chinese authorities to target critics, human rights defenders, journalists, NGO workers and anyone else in Hong Kong who doesn’t agree with communism.

I stand with the citizens of Hong Kong. I support them as they stand up for their right to pursue life, liberty and happiness through freedom of mind, speech and the right to assemble.

Judi Willard is Circle Membership Director for The Policy Circle. She is a staunch defender of freedom. And her proudest moments were taking each of her three children to register to vote!

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