Hundreds of anti-government protesters march during an annual New Year protest in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.
Hundreds of anti-government protesters march during an annual New Year protest in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

Thousands of demonstrators marched in the streets of Hong Kong on New Year's Day to protest China's apparent tightening grip on the semi-autonomous territory.  

Pro-democracy activists have become alarmed over a series actions taken by Hong Kong's pro-Beijing government, including banning the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party for reasons of national security, rejecting the renewal of a visa of a Western journalist who hosted a forum with the head of the party, and barring pro-democracy candidates from running in local elections.

Li Wenzu has her head shaved to protest the detention of her husband and Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, detained during the 709 crackdown, in Beijing on Dec. 17, 2018.
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Several pro-independence activists were among the protesters taking part in Tuesday's march. Hong Kong's youth-driven pro-democracy movement sprung from the massive 2014 pro-democracy "Umbrella Revolution" demanding fully free elections.  

Hong Kong has enjoyed numerous freedoms under the "one country, two systems" formula established when Britain relinquished control of the territory in 1997, including the right to assembly and free speech.