You Can Still Travel to Hong Kong Without Fear, Despite Escalating Protests
Last month, TPG reported on mounting civil unrest in Hong Kong as the autonomous city's legislature mulled a bill that would allow for accused criminals to be extradited to the Chinese mainland for trial.
The New York Times said that on Monday night, hundreds of protestors in Hong Kong gained access to the legislative offices as riot police backed away from a potential conflict. Although the officers had threatened to use force against the demonstrators, when it became apparent that the crowd was poised to enter the legislative complex, the police largely disbanded. According to the paper, protesters were defacing parts of the building, but the rest of the protest was peaceful.
For travelers though, the demonstrations should not cause too many issues beyond possible congestion and increased transit times in their immediate vicinity.
The US State Department has no travel warnings listed for Hong Kong, but it does advise travelers to "exercise normal precaution."
The protests have been going on since mid-June and are regarded as the largest demonstrations in the city since the British government handed control of the territory back to Beijing in 1997. At that time, the Chinese government officially became responsible for governing Hong Kong, but agreed to let the city maintain separate laws and an independent judicial system for another 50 years.
Locals viewed the legislature's proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China as a step toward eroding the city's special legal status, and one that could strengthen Beijing's influence in its governmental affairs.
Travelers with plans to visit Hong Kong in the near future shouldn't be concerned at this time, but it's important to closely monitor the developing situation. Hong Kong International Airport has a notice to passengers that ground transportation may be delayed.