Hong Kong protests on anniversary of return to China set to reopen push for greater autonomy

Hong Kong protests on anniversary of return to China set to reopen push for greater autonomy

Peaceful protests are set to return to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong today, as it prepares to mark the

A protester carries a placard which reads “I need real universal suffrage” during a demonstration in Hong Kong

Photo: Reuters/Liau Chung-ren

Peaceful protests are set to return to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong today, as it prepares to mark the 21st anniversary of Britain returning the city to Chinese rule.

In expectation of an organised protest, authorities of Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous government have arrested dozens of activists in the lead-up to celebrations, which some Communist Party leaders are expected to attend. Following the unprecedented ‘umbrella protests’ in 2014 over Beijing’s refusal to grant universal suffrage, China is expected to show little tolerance for new calls for greater autonomy. Additionally, security force deployments are expected, as seen in last year’s protests over the election of Beijing loyalist Carrie Lam as chief executive of the territory.

The protests are a powerful symbol of opposition to the Communist Party’s efforts to ingrain itself ever deeper in Chinese society, which sets this year’s anniversary up as yet another clash between the quasi-Western ideals of Hong Kong and the centralised control of mainland China. Little is expected to change with regard to self-rule in the territory in the short-term, but long-term there remain significant concerns about China’s attempt to undermine Hong Kong’s basic law and the legal freedoms of its citizens.

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