The role of cash as Hong Kong protests China's Extradition Bill
The demonstrations this week have become Hong Kong's largest ever protests, but they have become violent with police shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators and following their digital footprints home.
In moments of crisis, demand for cash skyrockets. Not only does tangible money protect the privacy of the public, but it works in an instant, without the permission of a bank or payment provider. This sense of independence plays a vital role in the balance of power between government and the public.
The availability of cash as a payment option means the citizens who protest for their rights, as well as those who don't but happen to be nearby, are able to get home at the end of the day without endangering their families, housemates or dependents.
“We’re afraid of having our data tracked,”
Hong Kong is waking up to the benefits of financial privacy using cash, reports claim, as protesters seek to hide their movements and identity.
According to various reports surfacing on social media this week, participants in the ongoing rallies against the Hong Kong government are choosing to abandon payment methods which could track them.
The rallies against the extradition bill have been the biggest since Hong Kong was handed back to China by the British in 1997. Since 2014, protests by the Umbrella Movement has been successful in attracting international attention to Hong Kong's plight.
One of the most important general principles of "One Country, Two System" is specified in Article 5 of the Basic Law, which reads: "The socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years."
Today, the UK's Prime Minister, Theresa May, publicly criticized the bill, expressing concern over 30,000+ British citizens who live in Hong Kong and reminding that the bill cannot break the Basic Law of the 1984 Sino-British joint declaration, signed by former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. However, the British Foreign Office announced a few years ago that Chinese officials seem to be treating the Joint Declaration as "void".
Protest organizers say the idea of being put on trial in the mainland, would silence China's critics in Beijing, what is now China's freest city. As China gets ready to expand their social credit payment system across the communist nation in 2020, the world is picking up on the crucial role that cash plays in society.