Where Will Protests Lead Hong Kong?

The director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office says the city is experiencing its worst crisis since the colony returned to China from British rule in 1997 after weeks of protests prompted by legislation that protestors believe was eroding their freedoms.

Thousands of protestors have been disrupting travel on roads and trains and hundreds of flights have been cancelled due to sick calls from air traffic controllers.  Union officials said close to 350,000 workers stayed home on Monday, nearly two months after the protests first began. 

The protests, which are much larger than previous protests, were initially in response to legislation that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to China, signaling to many, an erosion of independence enjoyed under British rule, prior to the 1997 handover.  That legislation has since been suspended, but lingering fear over the loss of certain freedoms remains.

Last week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of influencing the protests. 

The Cipher Brief reached out to three China experts, including Cipher Brief expert Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, with three key questions about the protests, what they really mean and where this might be headed with authorities.   

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