Excerpt of Women's Media Center op-ed by GJC intern Hannah Kohn .
Since February 2019, the mass demonstrations roiling Hong Kong have been consistently met with police brutality. But sexual and gender-based violence has flown under the radar in most mainstream coverage of the protests. It is time for the international community to heed the call of Hong Kong-based activists and hold the government to account for this human rights crisis.
The unrest began when Hong Kong’s government proposed legislation that would allow extraditions to mainland China, which critics argue would allow for anyone in the city to be picked up and detained — including political activists — and essentially erode Hong Kong’s independence from the mainland.
Shortly thereafter, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens (in some cases almost 2 million) took to the streets to protest. The government responded to these largely peaceful protests with widespread, severe police brutality. As a consequence of the government’s disproportionate response, the protests blossomed from the narrow goal of opposing the extradition bill into much wider demandsfor police accountability and democracy.