Nicole Tung

Against the Tide: Hong Kong
Location: Istanbul
Nationality: American
Biography: Nicole Tung is a freelance photojournalist. She graduated from New York University, double majoring in history and journalism, and freelances for international publications and NGOs, working primarily in the Middle East and Asia. After covering... read on
Public Story
Against the Tide: Hong Kong
Credits: nicole tung
Updated: 06/12/20
In June 2019, large scale protests rocked the special administrative region of Hong Kong. Initially, the protests were held to demand the withdrawal of the extradition bill that would have allowed suspects from Hong Kong to be extradited to stand trial in China, but have grown into pro-democracy demonstrations in a rebuke to the local government's handling of the crisis. It also expanded to include social grievances and a criticism of China's encroachment on the freedoms of Hong Kong people.  

Protestors marched repeatedly in rallies and in smaller demonstrations week after week, to reiterate their five main demands including a full withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill (which was granted), the retraction of the government's characterization of protests as “riots" as well as calling for the unconditional release of all arrested protesters, universal suffrage, and an inquiry by an independent commission into all events since June. Protestors also voiced their concerns over the excessive force used by police against the demonstrators, which have also affected regular citizens in the city. Towards the end of the year, nearly after five months of continuous demonstrations, Hong Kong officially entered a recession after decades, as businesses struggled to attract customers and tourists, and the economy shrank.

With the onset of the novel coronavirus in early 2020, demonstrations came to a halt but were revived once again in May after the Chinese parliament approved a new security law for Hong Kong, giving the central government broad authority to suppress acts that ‘threaten national security.’ In effect, it will undermine the freedoms long enjoyed by the city, including free speech and free assembly.