Hong Kong’s massive anti-government demonstrations began in June, when protesters rallied against an extradition bill that could bring Hong Kong residents into mainland China’s legal system. Since then, the conflict has escalated, leading to violent confrontations between protesters and police, major transportation shutdowns, and ongoing unrest. Protesters are fighting to determine the democratic future of Hong Kong, which means challenging the Beijing-backed local government and China itself. (Hong Kong’s chief executive is chosen through an election committee that’s composed mostly of Beijing loyalists.) Hong Kong has historically been seen as a Western-friendly hub for American business interests, spanning back to the mid-19th century. The region was a British colony until 1997, when its sovereignty was transferred back to China’s Communist Party under the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Read more at Vox.