Timeline: A growing unease in Hong Kong about the future

 Timeline: A growing unease in Hong Kong about the future

A series of steps by the Chinese and Hong Kong governments in recent years have prompted a growing uneasiness among Hong Kong residents about their future, a concern that burst out in a protest by hundreds of thousands of people.

Many in the semiautonomous Chinese territory worry the freedoms they enjoy under a "one-country, two-systems" framework are being chipped away at, as both governments use carrots and sticks to draw Hong Kong closer to China's orbit.

The former British colony was returned to China in 1997 under the framework, which guarantees it the right to retain its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years.

A look at events:


September-December 2014

Protesters seeking direct elections for Hong Kong's leader lay siege to government headquarters for 79 days but fail to win any concessions.

The movement inspires a new generation of political activists but also builds cynicism about the power of popular movements to effect political change.

Riot police launch tear gas into the crowd as thousands of protesters surround the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

A protester is arrested by police officers outside government headquarters in Hong Kong, Dec. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)


October 2015

Four people connected with a Hong Kong publisher and bookshop that published books banned in China go missing.

A fifth person disappears in December. Chinese authorities later say they were detained for investigations into criminal activity. The case raises questions about freedom of expression in Hong Kong.


July 2017

Carrie Lam becomes Hong Kong's chief executive, or leader.

Hong Kong's chief executive-elect Carrie Lam stands in front of reporters at government headquarter in Hong Kong, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)


January 2018

Gui Minhai, one of the booksellers who disappeared in 2015, is arrested on a train in China while traveling with two Swedish diplomats.

Gui, a Swedish citizen, had been released in October 2017.

Freed Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee stands next to a placard with picture of missing bookseller Gui Minhai, in front of his book store in Hong Kong, June 18, 2016, as the protesters are marching to the Chinese central government's liaison office. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Freed Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee stands next to a placard with picture of missing bookseller Gui Minhai, in front of his book store in Hong Kong, June 18, 2016, as the protesters are marching to the Chinese central government's liaison office. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)


September 2018

A high-speed rail link opens between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Passengers clear Chinese immigration inside the station in Hong Kong, prompting protests from some opposition lawmakers that Chinese law would apply in the immigration area.

Protesters dress as People's Liberation Army (PLA) during a protest outside the Western Kowloon Station against the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Express Rail Link in Hong Kong, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)


October 2018

China opens a 55-kilometer (34-mile) -long bridge linking Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland. Xi presides over a ceremony to open the link.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridgeis seen during the first day operation of the world's longest cross-sea project, which has a total length of 55 kilometers (34 miles), in Macau, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridgeis seen during the first day operation of the world's longest cross-sea project, which has a total length of 55 kilometers (34 miles), in Macau, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)


February 2019

China announces plans to create a Greater Bay Area encompassing Hong Kong, Macau and neighboring Guandong province in the mainland to foster economic development.

The move is seen as an effort to deepen ties among Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland.


April 2019

Lam's government introduces amendments to Hong Kong's extradition laws that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to China.

Opponents say the changes would damage the territory's legal independence and suspects would not be guaranteed fair trials.

A Hong Kong court convicts nine leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy demonstrations known as the "Umbrella Movement." Hong Kong judges were reportedly under pressure from China to hand down heavy sentences to deter future protests.

A protester holds an umbrella during a performance on a main road in the occupied areas outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Occupy Central leaders, from left, Chan Kin-man, Benny Tai and Chu Yiu-ming chant slogans before entering a court in Hong Kong, April 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)


June 2019

Hundreds of thousands march through central Hong Kong to protest the proposed changes to the extradition laws.

Demonstrators raise their hands near the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Demonstrators raise their hands near the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Protestors gather near the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Protesters react to tear gas during a massive protest in Hong Kong, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Protesters hold placards as they stage protest against the extradition law in Hong Kong, June 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Police officers stand guard against protesters in a rally against the proposed amendments to the extradition law at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong during the early hours of Monday, June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)