News / Asia

Pro-Democracy Protesters Flood Hong Kong

  • 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.

Pro-democracy Protesters Flood Hong Kong

Shannon Van Sant

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents marked the 17th anniversary of the handover of the city from Britain to China today by marching in protest of the Chinese government.

Hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters, mostly young people, held banners demanding "real democracy" and chanted slogans against Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leader, Leung Chun-ying, as they marched from Victoria Park to the city's central business district.

Tuesday's protest coincides with the annual July 1 pro-democracy rally marking the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule.  It is taking place just a couple days after one-fifth of Hong Kong’s voters took part in an informal vote on democratic reform, and follows a white paper on political reform in Hong Kong issued by China’s central government.  

Beijing has promised to allow Hong Kongers to vote for their elected officials in 2017. But it has angered many by insisting that it will only allow candidates that are approved beforehand.

The 14,500 word white paper, released earlier this year by China’s State Council Information Office, asserts that Hong Kong does not have full autonomy.  It says many “wrong views” are held in Hong Kong on the “one country, two systems” concept.    

Some protesters set fire to replicas of the report.

Derek Chan Tak-cheung, an activist, took part in the demonstrations.  

He said after the Chinese State Council issued the white paper, we made a coffin and banner reading RIP (rest in peace) Hong Kong to use as a metaphor in our protests.  Derek said we also used that to remember the deaths in the Tiananmen crackdown and appeal for the release of all political prisoners.  

Last weekend democracy activists organized an informal poll on democracy that asked three questions on the election of the city’s chief executive. Currently, Beijing chooses the nominees for the chief executive.  Activists are pushing for universal suffrage in Hong Kong by 2017.  Eight hundred thousand people in Hong Kong took part in the poll, which the Chinese government called illegal and invalid.  

Chinese state media warned Hong Kong residents Tuesday against protesting for democracy.  The state-run China Daily newspaper wrote, "Without the mainland, [Hong Kong] would be left with only half of its trade, one-fourth of its foreign investment and visitors, not to mention only one-tenth of its water and food supply.”

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Comments
     
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
July 01, 2014 3:04 PM
China misread H K. First, China believes if H K was a British colony, now it come back to China, the H K people should be proud and happy. Second, H K people are not happy because their heart is not yet returned to China. Third, their heart is not returned, because the British collude with USA are attempting to create trouble for China. Now there is the trouble, see. How the British and Americans are succeeding. So, let's give some goodies to H K people. Let them make money and they will be happy. When that doesn't work, let's talk tough to them.


by: NG from: Canada
July 01, 2014 2:09 PM
When Japanese fascists invaded Hongkong in WWII, no Hongkong people protested Japanese Fascists by demonstration because they knew Japanese Fascists would crackdown and kill them if anyone in Hongkong interrupted ruling over Hongkang by Japanese fascists.

China government is feeble and weak compared with Japanese and UK army in Hongkong, Some Hongkong people know this.


by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
July 01, 2014 2:04 PM
China is the sovereign state governing H K. That's exactly what the PRC White Paper on H K blatantly said: all the rights you have are given by me. This is the attitude of a Master telling the slave to bow, you can only reply: how low. Is that what One Country Two Systems means?


by: jiangbo
July 01, 2014 1:26 PM
when british ruled hongkong, did hongkong have a governor who was elected by hingkong people?

In Response

by: Frankie Fook-lunLeung from: Los Angeles
July 01, 2014 1:48 PM
No. H K was a British colony. The UK government did not give H K the promise of one country two systems. The UK government respected human rights and division of power and above all judicial independence. Does China do the same to its own people. China fears that what happens in H K will spread to China. Have I answered your question?


by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
July 01, 2014 1:13 PM
Why did China enter into an international agreement with the UK government for the Joint Declaration making those promises. Why did China give H K Special Adminstration Zone "One Country Two Systems" and other goodies. Why did China retract from those obligations. It makes the world wonder whether China can keep its obligations created by an international treaty.


by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
July 01, 2014 9:20 AM
London can vote for independence first! But HK is always part of China, HKs future must be decides by the general congress, the representative of 1.3 billion Chinese!

In Response

by: Anonymous
July 01, 2014 2:48 PM
The representatives of 1.3 billion Chinese! You must be joking. The CCP represent noone but themselves. Why doesn't the CCP let 1.3 billion Chinese vote for who they really want to represent them? Since you claim to be from Canada, yet love the CCP so much, why don't you leave Canada, where people have the right to vote, are able to hold their government accountable, has media freedoms, and go back to China where your beloved CCP rules. You must be the spawn of some 'naked officials'. The fact that you can access and post what you want freely on the internet is pretty ironic.


by: Ting from: USA
July 01, 2014 8:02 AM
China took back HK for the benefit of the Chinese people and not solely for the HK citizens and administer HK for the benefit of Chinese people and not solely for HK citizens. Those so called democratic activists can live so subserviently under the autocratic British colonial rule can also do so now and are better off in that the positions of HK Governor and high public offices can now be filled by HK citizens instead of by British from Britain and the HK revenue can now be spend for the prosperity of HK instead for Britain.

In Response

by: needmorestandoffs
July 01, 2014 9:10 AM
The fact that HK citizens lived under British rule in the past is not relevant today. The only point that matters is that citizens of any country have a right to demand the right to live in freedom and liberty, and to be governed as they see fit. They have a right to protest and demand to be heard. They have a self evident right to fight for their freedom, and establish their own government. It may come with problems of its own, as Beijing points out in its white paper regarding trade, resources, and economic issues, but that is for the citizens of HK to sort out. I wish them well.


by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, Vietnam
July 01, 2014 6:07 AM
I am very impressed. I wished we could do the same in Vietnam too, do marching for democracy without getting arrested, beaten up and locked up for many years.

In Response

by: Adam9
July 01, 2014 4:44 PM
Thank you for sharing your insight, Matthew !!

And again, I am very impressed with the people of Hong Kong.

In Response

by: matthew from: hong kong
July 01, 2014 1:18 PM
Telling, I think, that the adverse comments on Hong Kong's struggle for democracy appear to come from ethnically Chinese individuals who have made the choice not to live in China, or Hong Kong. Being proud of one's country - indeed patriotic - does not mean being blind to its shortcomings. Perhaps worth reviewing the evidence and investigating the drivers of dissent before expressing ill-considered and frankly offensive opinions. Disclosure: I am not ethnically Chinese, but i have been living in Hong Kong for over a decade, and have witnessed first-hand Peking's steady erosion of Hong Kong's civil liberties, and increasingly belligerent tone towards Hong Kong's people. I of course can leave if things get too hot. Hong Kong's patriots demanding change for the most part cannot, making their views substantially more weighty than those of Peking 's sock-puppets overseas.

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