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Hong Kong locals protest over proposed extradition law. Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Is Hong Kong on the brink of a revolution? 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know

1. Background

Protests have been ongoing on the streets of Hong Kong for weeks due to an extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to Mainland China to stand trial in court. The proposed law has been suspended by Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, but the demonstrators are demanding its full withdrawal. The motives behind the protests have also extended well beyond the extradition bill to become an outlet for a series of grievances: anger at a broken political system, a lack of economic opportunities; and growing distrust of mainland China, a country it is technically part of under a “one country, two systems” model. This is a system that has drawn criticism from the Hong Kong public since its start in 1997.

2. China’s dilemma with Hong Kong

As Hong Kong descends into a state of unrest with protests that seem to have no end, China is in a dilemma as to how to respond. China has tried to suppress these protests online, as last Monday, Twitter accused China of a “coordinated state-backed” operation “specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong.” The site barred advertising by China’s state media and dropped nearly a thousand accounts, some of which operated under the kind of fake, folksy personae used by Russian agents in the U.S. election in 2016. But this has only added fuel to the fire, as protests have continued and returned to violence, as will be shown in point 4. China will have to re-evaluate its stance.

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