News / Asia

    Hong Kong Protest Organizers Charged

    Policemen stand in front of the police headquarters where organizers of Hong Kong's biggest pro-democracy rally were arrested in Hong Kong, July 4, 2014.
    Policemen stand in front of the police headquarters where organizers of Hong Kong's biggest pro-democracy rally were arrested in Hong Kong, July 4, 2014.
    VOA News

    Five members of an activist group that organized a massive political rally in Hong Kong earlier this week have been charged with minor offenses.

    A Civil Human Rights Front leader said the group's treasurer and another officer were among those taken into custody, along with a driver and two volunteers. Organizers say a half-million people demonstrated in the streets of Hong Kong on July 1 to challenge Beijing's control over local elected officials.

    The group posted to its Facebook account on Friday that the members, who are accused of blocking traffic, obstructing police and violating traffic safety, had been freed, but that police had confiscated their phones.

    Some 500 people were arrested in what was largely a peaceful protest on a public holiday. The majority were released the following day.

    Organizers say 510,000 people attended the protest on the 17th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese governance.

    Police put the figure at just under 100,000.

    The annual protest took on added significance this year amid a campaign to pressure Beijing to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their leader.

    Many of the protesters chanted anti-China slogans and carried signs demanding "real democracy" as they marched from Victoria Park to the financial district.

    The protest follows an unofficial referendum in which nearly 800,000 Hong Kong residents voted to be given more control over the nomination of candidates in a 2017 election.

    Beijing said it will fulfill its promise to allow the semi-autonomous territory to elect its leader in 2017, but insists only mainland-approved candidates can run.

    In the past, mass protests have convinced Beijing to alter its policies toward Hong Kong. In 2003, half a million people showed up for a pro-democracy protest, prompting China to scrap proposed anti-subversion laws.  But this time Communist Party leaders appear to be standing firm.

    The party last month issued a White Paper emphasizing its "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong, which it stressed did not enjoy "full autonomy."

    Hong Kong residents enjoy more civil and political rights than their counterparts on the mainland due to Beijing's 1997 agreement with Britain.

    But discontent with perceived Chinese interference in Hong Kong is rising and a heavy-handed response by the mainland could trigger more protests.

    Occupy Central, a coalition of protest groups, has threatened to shut down the city's financial district later this year if its demands for electoral reforms are not met.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

    • A protester is carried away by police officers after staying overnight in Hong Kong's financial district, July 2, 2014.
    • A protester wearing a headband which reads "civil disobedience" cries before being dragged away by  police after staying overnight at Hong Kong's financial district July 2, 2014.
    • Protesters demand that a police officer (right) stay away from them during a peaceful protest, in the financial district, Hong Kong, July 2, 2014.
    • Hundreds of protesters stage a peaceful sit-in overnight following a huge rally in support of democratic reform, in the financial district of Hong Kong, July 2, 2014,
    • Protesters sing while waving mobile phones during an overnight sit-in, financial district of Hong Kong,  July 1, 2014.
    • Hong Kong residents march through the streets of the former British colony carrying umbrellas during a protest to push for greater democracy, Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.
    • Tens of thousands march in downtown streets during a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.
    • Former Hong Kong Chief Secretary Anson Chan (center) looks on beside a police officer as she joins thousands of protesters during a march to demand universal suffrage in Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.
    • Protesters carry portraits of detained Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (right) and mainland journalist Gao Yu as they join tens of thousands of others during a march to demand universal suffrage, Hong Kong July 1, 2014.
    • Tens of thousands of residents march during an annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, July 1, 2014.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Peter from: Singapore
    July 11, 2014 3:57 PM
    Ukraine was the best case that indicated who were the bad hands. All agree fifties years not change. Economy, administration system, freedom within colony -condition. Up to now any change ? Confliction,protest cannot solve the problem. Did the colony government provide any democratic election for HK'S?
    In Response

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: los Angeles
    July 12, 2014 12:46 AM
    The U K is a democratic government with a better human rights record, respect and practice judicial independence and rule of law. China is not. If China wished, she needed not promise H K a One Country Two Systems with a high degree of autonomy in 1997.

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    July 07, 2014 12:31 PM
    Now you can see even regional newspapers in USA and Australia carry reports about the Occupy Central movement. Beijing high-ups are responding too. It shows that H K is again receiving international media attention. Would that put pressure on Beijing to change its policy? We are waiting to see.

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    July 07, 2014 1:05 AM
    The Hong Kong offices of the Big Four Accounting firms advertised in H K newspapers denouncing the Occupy Central Movement. Interestingly enough their staff put out another announcement denouncing that they do not share their employers' position. How embarassing. I suggest the headquarters of these global firms should stand out to clarify whether their Hong Kong branches have the authority to make such announcement and how come their employees disagree.

    by: William Li from: Canada
    July 06, 2014 1:02 PM
    When the Occupy Wall Street reopen?

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    July 05, 2014 9:53 PM
    Christopher Patten wrote in this week-end's Financial Times criticising the White Paper of the PRC on Hong Kong. The Wall St. Journal carries a long article on supporting the Occupy Central Movement.

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    July 05, 2014 1:11 AM
    China is blaming the UK and US governments for being the black hands stirring things up to undermine China;s exercise of sovereignty over a Hong Kong China recovered but Britain wants to retain her influence nothingstanding.

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