Pro-democracy demonstrators return to the streets of Hong Kong

Pro-democracy demonstrators return to the streets of Hong Kong

Thousands of pro-democracy activists are set to mark China’s National Day today. They will do so by protesting in Hong Kong against Beijing’s crackdowns on civil liberties in recent months. The protests come amid rising tensions since July’s celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the British handover of Hong Kong to China. In that time, Beijing has stamped

Hong Kong press freedom march

Photo: EPA/Jerome Favre

Thousands of pro-democracy activists are set to mark China’s National Day today. They will do so by protesting in Hong Kong against Beijing’s crackdowns on civil liberties in recent months.

The protests come amid rising tensions since July’s celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the British handover of Hong Kong to China. In that time, Beijing has stamped its authority on the feisty Cantonese region. Pro-democracy activists have been jailed and an opposition lawmaker has been court-martialled for insulting the Chinese flag. An August 21 protest rallied against the jailing of pro-democracy activists; it was the largest demonstration since months-long 2014 protests shut down large parts of the city.

Today’s protests will be a litmus test as to whether Hong Kong will see a return to the mass rallies of 2014 or whether Beijing’s recent crackdowns have dampened enthusiasm.

Looking ahead, China will maintain the rights and liberties of Hong Kong residents under the “one country, two systems” settlement. However, crackdowns on any activists who upset Beijing are also likely to continue.

 

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