Dr Yew Wei Lit, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Social Sciences, was interviewed on The Pulse, CNA’s weekly podcast hosted by commentaries editor Lin Suling, on the current protests in Hong Kong. Dr Yew explained that the reason the extradition bill has such a large impact is because the Hong Kong people believe in the preservation of the “one country, two systems” relationship between Hong Kong and China, and are worried that the extradition law would erode the autonomy of the Hong Kong people. He also shared that people in Hong Kong are worried about the possible abuse of the system and that their fears are not unfounded. Dr Yew added that the arrests of many leaders from the 2014 Umbrella Movement also resulted in a disillusionment amongst the Hong Kong people and explained the differences between this protest and the Umbrella Movement, sharing that the former is much more widespread, and it is built on the ongoing discontent among the Hong Kong people.
Dr Yew also said that despite the suspension of the bill, the Hong Kong protests have continued because they expect a formal withdrawal rather than a suspension, and that there has always been a distrust towards the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, as they are not democratically elected. The people of Hong Kong are also expecting Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign. He noted that on the ground, the protest is not a coordinated one, and that there are different factions, with some camps of protestors striving for the protest to stay non-violent. Of the various requests made, he opined that what the people of Hong Kong can hope for at this point is the full withdrawal of the bill, so that they never have to revisit this issue. In the short term, Dr Yew suggested that once the summer break is over, the protest might lose momentum since many of the young protestors are likely to return to school, but that the actions taken by police could also continue to fan the fires. On the return of Hong Kong to China in 2047, Dr Yew highlighted that there are many underlying social and economic anxieties of the young people of Hong Kong that will need to be addressed.
Dr Yew’s interview can be heard from 1:53 to 13:00.