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Xi’s challenges in Hong Kong as demands for democracy grows

Xi China

On July 1 Hong Kong marked 20th anniversary of its handover from Britain to China

Thousands of residents turned out for annual pro-democracy march in Hong Kong

Protesters criticized Beijing’s creeping control over internal city affairs

Young activists have emerged calling for self-determination or even full independence

On July 1, estimated 60,000 people marched in central HK in a pro-democracy protest

Demonstrators marched with yellow umbrellas, symbol of democratic activism in city

Prez Jinping warned that attempts “to challenge power” of China are impermissible

Xi Jinping arrived at HK on June 29 to mark the anniversary of handover on July 1

Huge security operation shut down large parts of Hong Kong for Xi’s visit

Pro Democracy Rally Political Reform Proposal Vote

26 pro-democracy protesters were arrested on eve of Xi Jinping’s visit to the city

Police arrested pro-democracy protesters including student leader Joshua Wong

China would work to ensure a “far-reaching future” for Hong Kong’s autonomy: Xi

Protesters in Hong Kong angered by Beijing’s perceived interference in the city

No country has right to interfere & make irresponsible remarks on Chinese internal affairs: China

Xi did not make contact with the people in the street or with any pro-democracy voices

Hardening stance of democrats & Beijing could widen, spawning greater radicalism

Activists concede spreading disillusionment among democracy movement since Xi came to power

Under mini-constitution, the Basic Law, Hong Kong is guaranteed wide-ranging autonomy for “at least 50 years” after 1997 under a “one country, two sys

The Basic Law also specifies universal suffrage as an eventual goal for Hong Kong

Beijing’s refusal to grant full democracy triggered 3 months of street protests in 2014

Street protests have posed one of the greatest populist challenges to Beijing in decades

Carrie Lam sworn in as Hong Kong’s new leader

On July 1, Carrie Lam sworn in as Hong Kong’s chief executive by President Xi Jinping

Lam took her oath in Mandarin Chinese & not in the local Cantonese amid protests

Beijing-backed civil servant Lam was chosen to be Hong Kong’s next leader in March

Carrie Lam was chosen by 1200-person “election committee”

The election committee is stacked with pro-China & pro-establishment loyalists

Lam’s swearing in by Xi was deeply symbolic for frustrated activists

Activists had demanded fully free leadership elections during 2014 Umbrella Movement

Protests had been sparked by a Beijing-backed political reform package

Hong Kong could have a public vote for leader, but that candidates must be vetted first

This plan was voted down by pro-democracy lawmakers & reform process has stalled

Carrie Lam has made no commitment to revisit vetting procedure anytime soon

Carrie Lam was selected by a pro-China committee, as were her predecessors

Protests in Hong Kong: A Brief History

For a region of only about 400 square miles, Hong Kong has seen more than its share of protest in the last century.

1967: Communists in British colony of Hong Kong rise in support of Cultural Revolution

1989: Tiananmen Square helps Hong Kong’s independent political identity take shape

2003: Pro-democracy protests return to Hong Kong

2014: “Occupy Central” takes place in Hong Kong

2017: The present state of affairs marked by disaffection among a section of HK population

The uprising of 2014 in Hong Kong was called “Occupy Central

Protesters demanded ability to elect Chief Executive without intervention of Beijing

Beijing’s refusal to grant universal suffrage to HK triggered street protests in 2014

Youth protests in Hong Kong

The large majority of protectors are young bloods. Only 3.1 percent of HK youths identify themselves as “Chinese” or “broadly Chinese

The Hong Kong University survey polled 120 youths between the ages of 18 and 29.

Chinese officials have expressed concern over HK youths’ reluctance to embrace a Chinese identity.

HK has been rocked by youth-led protests demanding democracy in recent years

Source: BBC

Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” agreement

This guaranteed a high degree of autonomy after Britain handed sovereignty back to China on July 1, 1997.

Beijing’s is concerned that there should be no embarrassment ahead of a key Communist Party congress later this year which is expected to cement Xi Jinping’ as most powerful Chinese leader in a generation.

Young activists have emerged calling for self-determination or even full independence. On July 1, estimated 60,000 people marched in central HK in a pro-democracy protest

Protesters have called for the release of cancer-stricken Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo

Suppression by regime has never let up; no end in sight: Nathan Law, HK legislator

On July 1, Prez Xi insisted Hong Kong had more extensive democratic rights and freedoms than at any other time in its history

China has pledged to uphold Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status

China: Document signed by Britain & China which initiated handover “is no longer relevant”

Sino-British Joint Declaration gave Hong Kong rights unseen on the mainland through a “one country, two systems” agreement, lasting 50 years.

Source: Global Times, China

There are growing fears that freedoms guaranteed by handover deal are now under threat

Chinese authorities have been accused of abductions & interfering in a range of areas

Mainland Chinese interference in HK common from politics to media and education

Political conflict would “severely hinder” HK’s economic and social development: China

Prez Xi has called for education measures to promote China’s national culture in HK

Proposal to include patriotic education in HK schools met with huge protests in 2012

On July 1, loyalists targeted small peaceful march by activists in memory of victims of Tiananmen Square crackdown

Leading activist Joshua Wong accused “pro-China gangsters and mobs” for instigating the attack.

Activists said they had been repeatedly targeted during Xi’s visit to Hong Kong

“What we’ve experienced this weekend was a whole new level of intimidation and direct violence that’s unprecedented,” said campaigner Avery Ng of League of Social Democrats.

Britain hopes Hong Kong makes more progress toward democracy

Photographer: Justin Chin

Britain hopes that Hong Kong will make more progress toward democracy

Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997

UK says Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong remains in force

“One country, two systems” formula guarantees wide-ranging freedoms and judicial independence in HK

Britain hopes that Hong Kong will make more progress toward a fully democratic and accountable system of government: Boris Johnson

Source: Bloomberg

“Britain’s commitment to Hong Kong – enshrined in the Joint Declaration with China – is just as strong today as it was 20 years ago.”

HK’s capitalist system will remain unchanged for “at least” 50 years until 2047: Britain

Britain has not clarified what happens after 2047

President Xi Jinping : China would work to ensure a “far-reaching future” for Hong Kong’s autonomy

Hong Kong has been a divided city with protests over Beijing’s perceived interference

China’s President Xi talks tough on Hong Kong as tens of thousands call for democracy

Xi has warned that Beijing won’t tolerate challenge to its authority in Hong Kong

Hong Kong needs to uphold national sovereignty, security: Xi Jinping

President Jinping swore in Hong Kong’s new leader on June 30 with a stark warning

Beijing won’t tolerate any challenge to its authority in the Hong Kong: Xi Jinping

Police blocked roads, preventing pro-democracy protesters from getting to venue

Hong Kong should crack down on moves towards “Hong Kong independence”: Prez Xi

“Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government … or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against mainland is an act that crosses red line: Xi Jinping

The first Opium War in 1840s led to ceding of Hong Kong to the British

China suffered “humiliation and sorrow” during the first Opium War: Xi Jinping

Hong Kong has been racked by demands for full democracy

Calls in pockets of protesters for independence, a subject that is anathema to Beijing

Increased meddling by Beijing in recent years by abductions by mainland agents

Central govt’s power hasn’t been respected in recent years causing concern to Beijing

 The tightly choreographed visit was full of pro-China rhetoric amid a virtually unprecedented security lockdown close to the scene of pro-democracy protests in 2014 that grabbed global headlines with clashes and tear gas rising between waterfront skyscrapers.

Xi did not make contact with the people in the street or with any pro-democracy voices

Hardening stance of democrats and Beijing could widen, spawning greater radicalism

Activists concede spreading disillusionment among democracy movement since Xi came to power

Street protests have posed one of the greatest populist challenges to Beijing in decades



 

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