Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong demand full democracy
Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong have demanded full democracy outside government headquarters on the third anniversary of a major pro-democracy movement.
Unfurling a mass of yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the 2014 movement that blocked major roads in the financial hub for close to three months, the demonstrators gathered at the same spot where police fired tear gas on the crowds three years ago.
The 2014 Hong Kong protests were considered one of the boldest populist challenges to China’s rulers since the 1989 pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of a high degree of autonomy under a “one country, two systems” arrangement.
The 2014 movement was created during the protests that erupted after the Chinese government introduced an election law, under which the people of Hong Kong will have to elect their next leader from a list of Beijing-vetted candidates in 2017.
The 2014 movement was disbanded by police.
Three years on, many of the youth-led movement’s leaders are either behind bars or bracing for jail time on charges such as unlawful assembly.
China’s main representative “Liaison” office in Hong Kong couldn’t be reached for comment, but Beijing has long stated it respects Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” and is supportive of lawful and gradual democratic development until universal suffrage is realized.
Political tension has also escalated over posters on university campuses advocating independence for Hong Kong, angering Chinese officials who consider the territory an “inalienable” part of China.