China- one of the world’s superpowers and biggest economies, and a looming danger for the future of Hong Kong. Since the Handover in 1997, the Hong Kong people have always enjoyed their freedoms as a special administrative region under China, maintaining different government and economic systems. This freedom and autonomy are guaranteed until 2047, exactly 50 years after the return from Britain. However, over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of people have started to protest as China attempts to silence Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists and lawmakers. Most recently, Bejing’s new law, the Extradition Bill (2019) would allow people arrested in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China and tried there, where courts must follow the laws of the Chinese Communist Party. The announcement of this bill turned one of Asia’s largest financial and economic hubs into a violent battleground, the streets full of protestors bombarded by petrol bombs and tear gas, for over six months. Officials in Hong Kong, such as Bernard Chan, a politician and businessman, have suggested that there have been no formal decisions made regarding what will happen in 2047, but Chan and other government figures say that China will be happy to leave Hong Kong’s economy alone, as long as they follow China’s political rules.  

But what do these protests and laws mean for Hong Kong’s young people? I spoke to one of my closest childhood friends, who lives in Hong Kong now. She says that when the protests were happening, they affected all aspects of life, as parents were afraid of their children being tear gassed by police or shot with rubber bullets, so they weren't allowed to go to certain areas. Sometimes even school was cancelled because of how dangerous the streets and public transport were. She told me about how “loads of people have moved this year because of the laws and the protests. It’s kind of scary living here knowing that if you say or post one bad thing about the government, they can just lock you up in jail”. Hong Kong’s people are terrified that it won’t be the same after 2047, but the future is highly uncertain and will all depend on China’s actions in the next 27 years.