Globe Trot: Students lead Hong Kong protests against Beijing
by Jamie Dean
Posted 9/29/14, 01:25 pm
HONG KONG: Pro-democracy demonstrations are swelling in Hong Kong, as thousands fill the streets in the city’s most serious confrontation with Beijing in a decade. Hong Kong was a British colony for more than a century, but returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Chinese leaders pledged Hong Kong could maintain autonomy for 50 years under a “one country, two systems” arrangement.
The current, largely student-led protests began after an Aug. 31 decision by Beijing to allow Hong Kong citizens—for the first time ever—to choose the city’s next chief executive. But the announcement came with a huge caveat upsetting to many: They may only choose from a list of candidates approved by a committee comprised of mostly pro-Beijing members.
As the protests continue, some of the city’s older residents who endured decades of turmoil in China seem less willing to press for greater freedoms. An older woman told AP she joined others who came to Hong Kong 60 years ago with nothing, and worked and suffered to build a rich city: “For me, being able to eat and sleep is already a luxury. I don’t need democracy. What does it mean?”
Many others defended the movement, particularly after police used tear gas against the crowds. “The students are protecting the right to vote, for Hong Kong’s future,” said a 55-year-old civil service employee who joined the demonstrations. “We are not scared, we are not frightened, we just fight for it.”
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