Hong Kongers protest China’s new laws with a British National passport and a Hong Kong colonial flag. (AP)

Hong Kongers protest China’s new laws with a British National passport and a Hong Kong colonial flag. (AP)

The bridge from Hong Kong to China to Macau is the longest built sea crossing.

The bridge from Hong Kong to China to Macau is the longest built sea crossing.

The British colonial flag of Hong Kong. Other nations have helped decide what happens in Hong Kong for more than 100 years.

The British colonial flag of Hong Kong. Other nations have helped decide what happens in Hong Kong for more than 100 years.

A map of Hong Kong during World War II, showing British and Japanese forces.

A map of Hong Kong during World War II, showing British and Japanese forces.

Who Rules Hong Kong?

Posted: September 1, 2020

All right, Hong Kong. You’ve had your fun. Back to obeying China!

New laws threaten freedom in Hong Kong. To understand that, you must first answer a question: What is Hong Kong? It’s not a country. It’s a city. But what country is it part of? Is it in China? Yes. And also, no.

For more than 100 years, the British government controlled Hong Kong. In 1997, Britain handed Hong Kong over to the Chinese government. But there was a catch. For 50 years, Hong Kong officials would get to make their own laws. They would handle their own money. The 50 years of independence would end in 2047. But Hong Kongers felt uneasy about that. They thought China might try to take away some of their freedoms before the 50 years ended.

It looks like they were right. This summer, the Chinese government made new rules under a policy called the National Security Law. China didn’t ask Hong Kong lawmakers first. The rules say police officers can search Hong Kongers without warrants. The police can tell internet service providers to take down messages online that don’t support the new laws. 

Some laws help free people live well. Other laws take away freedoms people need. Hong Kong is packed with people from all over the world. They create a lot of wealth and trade. They like being free to say what they want to. They enjoy knowing police will not stop and search them without a good reason. Like people in free countries, Hong Kongers have had the right to protest government policies they disagree with. But once the new laws passed, police started arresting people who disagreed with China’s rules. They searched bags and arrested people who had Hong Kong freedom flags. They even arrested people carrying white flags that said nothing at all.

Hong Kongers remember when China built the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world. That was in 2018. The bridge stretches 34 miles. What an achievement! But some Hong Kongers looked at the bridge skeptically. The bridge attached mainland China to their city. It used to take several hours to travel to Hong Kong from mainland China. The bridge cut travel time down to just 30 minutes. It seems the mega-bridge and the new laws say something big: “Hong Kong is part of China!”

That’s just what Hong Kongers were afraid of.

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. — John 8:32