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Reuters: Hong Kong's democracy 'referendum' likely to rile China's communists


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Hong Kong's democracy 'referendum' likely to rile China's communists


Hong Kong holds a controversial "referendum" on democracy on Friday, a prelude to an escalating campaign of dissent that could shut down the former British colony's financial district and further anger China's Communist Party leaders.


An affluent city of seven million that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong's longstanding push for full democracy is reaching what could be boiling point with tens of thousands expected to vote in the unofficial referendum for full democracy from Friday until Sunday.


While Beijing has allowed Hong Kong to go ahead with a popular vote for the city's top leader in 2017, the most far-reaching experiment in democracy in China since the Communist takeover in 1949, senior Chinese officials have ruled out allowing the public to nominate candidates.


Instead, Beijing insists a small committee of largely pro-Beijing loyalists choose who gets on the ballot, which would effectively render the ability to vote meaningless.


One of the founders of the Occupy Central protest movement, academic Benny Tai, hopes that its June 20-22 referendum will draw up to 300,000 people to strengthen the legitimacy of the group's demands for a fair and representative election in 2017 that would include opposition democrats.


But a cyber-attack this week crippled the online voting system, meaning the organizers may have to rely on the results from 15 voting stations to be set up on Sunday instead if it is not fixed by then.



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Hong Kong police have arrested more than 500 people holding a sit-in a day after tens of thousands in the former British colony joined a massive march to push for democracy.


Anger at mainland China has never been greater after Beijing warned recently it holds the ultimate authority over the freewheeling capitalist enclave.


That's despite a mini-constitution that gives the city a high degree of autonomy until 2047.


Police said 511 people were arrested Wednesday for unlawful assembly and preventing police from carrying out their duties. They were holding an overnight sit-in after the rally.


Police said 98,600 people joined Tuesday's rally at its peak, while organizers said 510,000 turned out, the highest estimates in a decade. Hong Kong University researchers put the number at between 154,000 and 172,000.

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Macau to 're-elect' leader as democratic rumblings, mirroring Hong Kong, are stifled


Macau chief executive Fernando Chui is widely expected to be "re-elected" on Sunday after the pro-China government stifled an unofficial referendum on democracy, taking a much harder line on the gambling hub than leaders have in neighboring Hong Kong.


The election in the tiny but wealthy former Portuguese-run enclave, by a select panel of 400 largely pro-China loyalists with Chui the only candidate, echoes the struggle in Hong Kong, where activists have been pushing for universal suffrage since China reclaimed the British colony in 1997.


Both territories are now "special administrative regions" of China, enjoying wide-ranging freedoms unavailable on the mainland, but presenting Communist Party leaders in Beijing with a headache as calls for democracy grow. China is terrified those calls will spread to mainland cities, threatening the party's grip on power.


Eric Sautede, a former professor of politics at Macau's University of Saint Joseph who was sacked for expressing his political views, said Beijing could crack down more easily in Macau than in Hong Kong because of the "limited grassroots push".


"None of the people in charge in Macau ever praised democratic values," he said. "They only praise consultation, scientific governance and harmony."


The election in Macau coincides with a meeting of China's parliament which is expected to limit 2017 elections for Hong Kong's leader to a handful of candidates, a move likely to escalate plans by pro-democracy activists to blockade the city's Central business district.


But so far, it is the Macau activists who have fared the worst, with five detained for staging the unofficial referendum on democracy, nearly two months after activists angered Beijing by conducting a similar poll in Hong Kong.


Macau, which returned to China in 1999, does not have a history of activism, unlike Hong Kong, where the Legislative Council is polarized between pro-Beijing conservatives and those calling for a free vote.

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Chinese army vehicles cause alarm in Hong Kong


Hong Kong democracy advocates expressed alarm Friday after Chinese army vehicles were photographed travelling down a major thoroughfare, in what they condemned as a show of "military might" ahead of expected protests.


At least four People's Liberation Army (PLA) armoured personnel carriers were seen in the small hours of Thursday near the busy Jordan and Yau Ma Tei areas of the city, the Apple Daily newspaper reported.


The vehicles, with short guns mounted on turrets, were spotted at a time of heightened public discontent in the semi-autonomous city over perceived interference by Beijing and a debate over how the next chief executive will be chosen under planned reforms.


Beijing has promised the former British colony will be able to vote for its own leader in 2017.


But it has insisted on vetting candidates through a pro-Beijing nominating committee, a move activists fear would disqualify anyone critical of the mainland authorities.


A pro-democracy group, Occupy Central, has pledged to mobilise thousands of protesters to block the financial district if authorities refuse to allow the public to choose candidates.

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Hong Kong protesters disrupt Beijing official's speech


Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have disrupted a speech given by a Beijing official explaining new voting changes being introduced for the city.


They chanted slogans and held placards accusing Beijing of breaking its promise to allow Hong Kong to choose its leader directly.


On Sunday the Chinese government ruled out open nominations of candidates for the chief executive election in 2017.


The move sparked anger among pro-democracy activists.


They have since vowed to set in motion a series of actions aimed at occupying the main financial area of Hong Kong.


The issue of how Hong Kong should choose its next leader has gripped the territory in recent months, with several protests and large-scale rallies held by opposing camps.

I hope this doesn't end very badly for them.

Also I wouldn't be surprised if this campaign results in less rights than they had before....

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Macau poll reveals democracy urges amid Hong Kong row with China


An unofficial referendum on democracy in the southern Chinese gambling hub of Macau showed 89 percent of nearly 9,000 people who took part don't trust their leader, who was re-elected on Sunday as the sole candidate.


An official panel elects Macau's leader, similar to neighboring Hong Kong where a committee of largely pro-Beijing loyalists chooses who gets on the ballot, effectively rendering the ability to vote meaningless.


Fernando Chui was returned to office by a panel of 400 largely pro-China loyalists in Macau, a former Portuguese colony.


Data released on the poll's online site showed that 7,762 of 8,688 voters did not have confidence in Chui, while 95 percent of the voters said they supported universal suffrage by 2019.


Authorities were quick to disrupt the unofficial poll, shutting polling booths and arresting five people for breaching privacy laws.



China 'has breached terms of Hong Kong handover'


Britain is helpless to stop China from backtracking on promises of free elections in Hong Kong, the head of the foreign affairs committee has said, as activists in the city seemed to lose steam in their battle for democracy.


Sir Richard Ottaway spoke after Beijing set out surprisingly conservative terms for the election of Hong Kong's leader in 2017.


While Hong Kongers will each get a vote, the nomination of candidates will be controlled by a 1,200-strong election committee filled by pro-Beijing figures.


The agreement struck by the UK and Hong Kong during the handover in 1997 "did call for universal suffrage in the election of the chief executive," said Sir Richard.


"And if you have a committee that is not neutral and is nominating a limited number of candidates, there seems to be a prima facie case that the undertakings given have been breached," he told the BBC.


Sir Richard is leading a parliamentary inquiry into Hong Kong's electoral reforms – to the irritation of Beijing, which has lambasted the process as "interference" in its domestic politics.


He admitted that Britain is in a "fairly weak position" to punish China with sanctions.


"Indeed, we were in a very weak position right from the beginning when this declaration was signed," he said.


While activists in Hong Kong initially promised an "era of civil disobedience" in response to Beijing's edict, it has not taken long for the wind to ebb from their sails.


On Tuesday, both of the leaders of the main Hong Kong protest movement, Occupy Central, which had previously promised to bring Asia's most important financial centre to a standstill, gave interviews suggesting the movement had ground to a halt.

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Chinese leader’s reforms are bad news for Hong Kong


In 1997, Britain returned Hong Kong to China after some 150 years of colonial rule. In exchange, China agreed to a set of principles: Hong Kong would maintain its capitalist system for half a century, by which point its chief executive and members of the legislature would be elected by universal suffrage. As the thinking went, “one country, two systems” would suffice in the interim; Hong Kong and the Mainland would surely converge on democracy in the half-century to come.


Not so fast. Recently, Beijing has been systematically moving in the other direction. The decision on August 31 to rule out democratic elections for Hong Kong in 2017 was just the latest example. Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s transformational reform agenda is driving this shift—and it does not bode well for Hong Kong.


Xi’s reform agenda has two parts: the first is economic liberalization. The Chinese leadership recognizes that it cannot rely on state-driven investment and cheap labor to provide growth indefinitely. Xi wants to make China’s economy more sophisticated and competitive. He is overhauling inefficient state-owned enterprises and focusing on changes in the financial sector in particular. It’s a top priority of the new leadership, and a requirement for a sustainable and dynamic Chinese economy going forward.


But a prosperous economy is simply a means to an end-goal. Xi is opening up the economy because, above all else, he wants to ensure the long-term survival and stability of the Communist Party leadership. He thinks economic reforms are a good bet despite the risks they will usher in. Over time, reform will require an enormous transfer of wealth from large domestic companies to demanding citizens and it will threaten the vested interests of many powerful elites who have prospered off the status quo. It will inject necessary competition into the economy, which could put jobs, companies, and sectors at risk.


So as Xi opens the economy and the Pandora’s Box that comes along with it, he is simultaneously clamping down on political dissent and consolidating power. Some Chinese citizens may think (or hope) that economic reform will usher in moves toward democracy. Make no mistake: Xi is engaged in political reform…it just doesn’t resemble our Western notion of what that entails. Xi has absolutely no interest in domestic political competition; in a time of economic change, political unity needs to be at its absolute strongest. This is the basis for his anti-corruption campaign, which has already led to some 40 powerful officials with the rank of vice minister or above being detained or investigated. Xi wants to scare China’s political and commercial elite into falling in line with his economic reforms, all while building popular support for his initiatives by attacking perceived corruption.


Hong Kong finds itself on the wrong end of Xi’s reform plan: Hong Kong used to matter to Beijing economically, now it matters politically. That’s absolutely the wrong way around. To the extent that economic liberalization bears fruit, Hong Kong will no longer serve such a useful role as the Western face and gateway into China. As China pushes forward with a Free Trade Zone in Shanghai, it will cannibalize many of Hong Kong’s unique offerings for foreigners looking to do business. And Hong Kong is no longer as integral to the Chinese economy: in 1997, it accounted for 15.6 percent of China’s national GDP. Last year, it fell below 3 percent.

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Insight - China asserts paternal rights over Hong Kong in democracy clash


Just days before China was set to deliver its edict on electoral reform in Hong Kong, Beijing’s most senior official in the city held a rare meeting with several local lawmakers whose determined push for full democracy had incensed Beijing's Communist leaders.


The setting at the Aug. 19 meeting was calm: A room with plush cream carpets, Chinese ink brush landscape paintings and a vase of purple orchids. The political mood outside, however, was fraught. Democratic protesters were threatening to shut down the global financial hub with an "Occupy Central" sit-in if Beijing refused to allow the city to freely elect its next leader.


After the formal smiles and handshakes with Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, the mood soured. Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung asked Zhang whether Beijing would allow any democrat to run for the city’s highest office.


Zhang, 51, dressed in a black suit and a navy blue striped tie, delivered a blunt response. “The fact that you are allowed to stay alive, already shows the country's inclusiveness," he answered, according to two people in the room who declined to be named. Zhang's office did not respond to several faxed requests for comment.


Zhang’s remarks stripped away any pretence China could find common ground with Hong Kong’s democracy camp. The two sides have been wrangling over what it means to have “one country, two systems” for the past 30 years – China stressing “one country” and democrats in the former British colony the “two systems”.


For Beijing, Western-style democracy conjures up visions of “colour revolutions” and the “Arab Spring”, of chaos and instability that could pose a mortal threat to the ruling Communist Party. For many Hong Kong residents, free elections means preserving the British-instituted rule of law, accountability of leaders, and multi-party politics as a check on government powers.


At the Aug. 19 meeting, Zhang said Beijing had been generous even allowing democrats such as Leung to run for legislative seats. He insisted that the next leader had to be a "patriot".


"We were shocked," said one person who attended the meeting. "But Zhang Xiaoming is only an agent who delivered the stance of the central government without trying to polish it."


Few were surprised, though, when China's highest lawmaking body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC), announced an electoral package on Aug. 31 that said any candidate for Hong Kong's chief executive in the 2017 election had to first get majority support from a 1,200-person nominating panel – likely to be stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.


Democrats say the decision spelled out China's bottom line on political reform: A direct vote will be allowed, but only if Beijing vets the candidates.


Yet the pro-democracy movement is vowing to press on with its campaign of civil disobedience. It is threatening to lock down Hong Kong's main business district with sit-ins in October, protesting what they call “fake” Chinese-style democracy. Students plan to boycott university classes later this month. And the city's 27 pro-democracy lawmakers have threatened to block Beijing's 2017 electoral package in the legislature, where they hold nearly one-third of the seats – enough to veto the law and block future government policies.


Benny Tai, one of the movement's three leaders, takes a longer-term view. "I call this a process of democratic baptism ... by participating, people will be baptised by democratic ideals," Tai told Reuters. "So it is not the end of the movement, it's the beginning of the movement, the beginning of a disobedience age."

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Hong Kong students take democracy fight to home of city's leader


Thousands of students and protesters marched to the official residence of Hong Kong's leader on Thursday to demand a meeting, defying police warnings, as tensions simmer over the financial hub's democratic future.


Carrying a huge image of Leung Chun-ying with vampire's teeth, the protesters chanted for the Beijing-backed leader to step down during a march snaking through commercial buildings, footbridges and streets up to the back gate of Government House.


Police tried several times to stop the human flow, holding up yellow posters warning against a "breach of the law", only for protesters to break through and continue marching.


"Tonight, C.Y. Leung is our most wanted criminal," said one of the students, Nathan Law.


The student-led march that organizers said drew more than four thousand people is a continuation of four full days of activities including citywide boycotts by thousands of university students, public assemblies, marches and speeches.


The protesters are demanding full democracy in a series of escalating acts that will culminate in an "Occupy Central" blockade of roads in the main financial district on Oct. 1.




'Bring goggles, biscuits and towels': Occupy Central publishes Manual of Disobedience


No weapons or anything that looks like one, no masks, no violence - and men, please bring a large empty bottle.


This is part of the advice offered by Occupy Central in its "Manual of Disobedience" to guide participants in the mass pro-democracy rally that looks set to start on October 1.


Releasing the eight-page document, setting out eight rules for the protest, organisers urged those planning to join the sit-in in Central to start getting mentally and physically prepared.


"As a responsible organiser, we should let the people understand the legal consequences of the occupy action," co-organiser Dr Chan Kin-man said.


Another co-founder, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, had earlier dropped a strong hint that the sit-in would happen "while others are celebrating the big day of the country", with an apparent reference to National Day on October 1.


On the legal consequences of joining Occupy, Tai, a law lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, said protesters could possibly breach laws on obstruction of public space and unauthorised assembly, which would leave them with a criminal record, although first offenders would only be fined or given suspended sentences.


He said protesters would not contravene the two more serious charges - unlawful assembly and disorder in a public place - if they followed Occupy's non-violent principles.






Blasts in China’s Xinjiang kill at least 50, injure dozens


At least 50 people were killed and dozens more were injured in a coordinated attack in China’s western region of Xinjiang, the regional government disclosed on Thursday, four days after the attack happened. Most of those killed were said to be suspects.


The attack happened at around 5 p.m. local time on Sunday when explosions occurred at a number of locations in Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture, which is part of Xinjiang. The blasts targeted the entrance to a shop in Luntai County, a police station in Terakbazar, and a farmers’ market in Yangxia, among other unspecified locations.


A brief report on a government-run regional news portal disclosed on Thursday that at least 6 civilians had been killed while 54 others were injured, including three people who were seriously injured. Also killed in the attack were two police officers and two auxiliary police officers.


The report said that 40 others described as “rioters” were killed when they either blew themselves up or were shot dead by police, but no specific details were released. Two suspects were arrested after police responded to the incident, which the regional government described as a “well-organized and serious case of violent terrorist attacks.”


Police identified Mamat Tursun, who was shot dead by police, as the main suspect, saying he had gradually developed a more extreme ideology after finishing secondary school in 2003. His “extremist religious ideology” became more intense from 2008, after which he refused to eat anything that was not Halal and even refused to attend his father’s funeral because he had worked as a civil servant.


Mamat Tursun also refused to eat at home and declined to attend his brother’s wedding because the couple had received a marriage certificate from the government. He later started reaching out to other people while working in construction to get other people to form a group and carry out attacks, investigators said.


It is the second time in less than two months that Chinese authorities have delayed important information about a major attack, seemingly in an attempt to avoid significant news coverage. It was revealed on August 3 that nearly 100 people were killed, including 37 civilians, in an attack in Xinjiang a week earlier. The report on state media was immediately followed by a second article that condemned the violence and justified the shoot-to-kill practice by police.







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BREAKING: Police move in to clear Hong Kong protesters from government complex after scuffles leave 29 hurt.

1:43 AM



HK Police Arrest Protesters At Gov't Complex


Riot police in Hong Kong are moving in to arrest the remaining 50 students who occupied the premises of government headquarters to protest China's refusal to allow genuine democratic reforms in the semiautonomous region.


About 100 others are continuing to shout slogans Saturday outside the square where the government complex is located.


The dispersal follows a night of scuffles between police and protesters who forced their way into government headquarters, some scaling a tall fence. Police on Friday night responded with pepper spray to push them back.


Police say 29 people have been injured.



Children skip school to join march for Hong Kong democracy


More than 1,000 Hong Kong secondary school pupils went on a classroom strike yesterday to protest against Beijing’s refusal to grant the region full democracy.

The pupils, some in uniform, skipped classes to flood the Admiralty tube station area as protesters gathered before heading to government buildings.


There was a large police presence and the protesters marched without a permit, defying forceful messages from Beijing that striving for independence was futile.


Video here:











Hong Kong police move in to arrest pro-democracy demonstrators


Riot police in Hong Kong are moving in to arrest the remaining 50 students who occupied the premises of government headquarters to protest China’s refusal to allow genuine democratic reforms in the semi-autonomous region.


About 100 others are continuing to shout slogans outside the complex.


Riot police using pepper spray cleared out more than 100 demonstrators early on Saturday, dragging many away and arresting 13, in the tensest scenes yet in a recent series of protests.


Student groups have been spearheading a civil disobedience campaign this week in response to Beijing’s announcement last month that it would choose who can stand for Hong Kong’s top post of chief executive in elections in 2017.


Several people, including one police officer, were taken away on stretchers by medical personnel after about 150 students forced their way into government headquarters late on Friday night, some scaling a tall fence. Police responded with pepper spray to push them back.


Police said 12 men and a woman, aged 16 to 35, were arrested Friday night and Saturday morning, and at least 28 protesters and officers have been injured.


Protesters who remained in the complex on Saturday morning hoisted a sign saying “Hope lies with the people, change starts with resistance,” written in black letters on white cloth.


“This is an amazing turning point. Hong Kongers usually just lay there and do nothing. This time, we’re really making an impact,” said Suki Wong, a recent graduate who works as an accountant.


Student groups have been spearheading a civil disobedience campaign with democracy activists this week to protest against Beijing’s announcement last month that it would choose who can stand for Hong Kong’s top post of chief executive in elections in 2017.


Demonstrators pushed into the grounds of the complex late on Friday, police said. Some scaled a high fence as others outside yelled, “Open the gates.”


One protester, Wong Kai-keung, said, “We don’t care if we get hurt; we don’t care if we get arrested. What we care about is getting real democracy.”


Hong Kong police move in to arrest pro-democracy demonstrators

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HONG KONG PARALYZED: top headline on CNN website right now:





At least 26 injured as police, protesters clash during Hong Kong protests


Police are in a tense standoff with tens of thousands of pro-democracy student demonstrators, recently joined by the like-minded Occupy Central movement, which has announced the formal start of a campaign of civil disobedience in the Chinese territory.


The weekend's demonstrations follow a week of student-led boycotts and protests against what many see as the encroachment of China's political will on Hong Kong's governance, in the face of China's decision to allow only Beijing-vetted candidates to stand in the city's elections for chief executive, Hong Kong's top civil position.


While the protests -- which have swelled following two consecutive nights of "occupation" of government property -- have been largely peaceful, police say they have arrested 78 people, ranging in age from 16 to 58.


At least 26 people were injured and hospitalized, the Hong Kong Hospital Authority told CNN on Sunday. A spokesman gave no details on the extent of the injuries. The Hong Kong Information Services Department said six police officers were injured, but it was unclear if they were included in the 26 figure.


Riot police have occasionally wielded batons against protesters. They have also used pepper spray, and tear gas has been deployed against more than one group of protesters around the Central Government Offices. CNN teams witnessed police donning riot gear and gas masks.

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Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters clog city streets


Defiant pro-democracy demonstrators remained on the streets of Hong Kong's financial center early Monday, after a day of protest-fueled clashes that left at least 38 people injured.


Despite calls from organizers for them to return home, many of the protesters were set to continue to jam streets of the business district.


The sometimes violent demonstrations follow a week of student-led boycotts and protests against what many see as the encroachment of China's political will on Hong Kong's governance. They were responding to China's decision to allow only Beijing-vetted candidates to stand in the city's elections for chief executive, Hong Kong's top civil position.


One student group, fearing police might use rubber bullets, asked late Sunday for demonstrators to leave. But while the mood at the primary protest calmed, there was no large exodus.


Not all protest leaders were calling for people to leave. Pro-democracy activist and lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, known by many as "Long Hair," cheered on those who were staying.


"Our demands have not changed. This is a peaceful civil disobedience protest," he called out over a loudspeaker as midnight approached.


Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong and a leader of Occupy Central, was one of the organizers who called for demonstrators to disperse.

"Please go home, don't sacrifice your lives," he said to the protesters. Dialogue is impossible at this point, he told them.


At least 38 people were injured and hospitalized, the Hong Kong Information Services Department said Sunday. A spokesman gave no details on the extent of the injuries. The department earlier said six police officers were injured, but it was unclear whether they were included in the 38 figure.


Several of the young people occupying the business district told CNN they were going to stay overnight.



Hong Kong protests: What you need to know


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Protesters stay out on Hong Kong streets, defying Beijing


Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters blocked Hong Kong streets in the early hours on Tuesday, maintaining pressure on China as it faces one of its biggest political challenges since the Tiananmen Square crackdown 25 years ago.


Riot police had largely withdrawn and there were none of the clashes, tear gas and baton charges that had erupted over the weekend. As tensions eased, some exhausted demonstrators slept on roadsides while others sang songs or chanted slogans.


One young police officer relaxed in a chair and played on his mobile phone as thousands of demonstrators milled in the streets nearby, some singing and dancing.


Asked why there were so few police, he replied: "Actually, I don't have a reason for you. But we are tired. We are all human beings so we need a rest."


The protesters, mostly students, are demanding full democracy and have called on the city's leader Leung Chun-ying to step down after Beijing last month announced a plan to limit 2017 elections for Hong Kong's leader, known as the Chief Executive, to a handful of candidates loyal to Beijing.


China rules Hong Kong under a "one country, two systems" formula that accords the former British colony a degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, with universal suffrage set as an eventual goal.


Communist Party leaders worry that calls for democracy could spread to the mainland, and have been aggressively censoring news and social media comments about the Hong Kong demonstrations.


The outside world has looked on warily, concerned that the clashes could spread and trigger a much harsher crackdown.


"The United States urges the Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint and for protesters to express their views peacefully," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a daily briefing on Monday.

Pretty huge crowds now still, from what they're showing on CNN.

The CNN reporter there points out that there are some freedoms in Hong Kong already, i.e. speech, media...and some others.





The Umbrella Revolution
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BREAKING: HongKong leader Leung Chun-ying demands for end to protests

11:39 PM



Hong Kong leader demands protests end 'immediately'


Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying Tuesday called on protest leaders to "immediately" withdraw their followers from the streets in his first public comments since pro-democracy demonstrators were tear gassed by police.


"Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop. I'm now asking them to fulfil the promise they made to society, and stop this campaign immediately," Leung said.


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Hong Kong: more join protests as crowds are urged to keep going


Fresh waves of pro-democracy protesters have swept into the heart of Hong Kong, as a leader of the civil disobedience movement urged them to keep the momentum going until Wednesday’s national holiday.


Crowds blocked one of the city’s main roads on Monday from the financial area of Central to the bar district of Wanchai in what appeared to be the largest demonstration yet. Tens of thousands were packed so tightly into Admiralty, around the government headquarters, that it was hard to move through the masses gathered beneath the skyscrapers.


Some have dubbed it “the umbrella revolution” in reference to the umbrellas carried by protesters to ward off teargas and pepper spray attacks, and which also served to shelter them from the fierce sun earlier in the day.


With no sign of police force on Monday evening, the mood was festive rather than angry. Participants held up their smartphones to create a glittering sea of lights and joined in a mass rendition of Do You Hear The People Sing – the revolutionaries’ song from the musical Les Misérables. Many in the overwhelmingly young crowd wore black and sported yellow ribbons. Others had come straight from their offices in smart shirts; two teenage convent girls were still in their starched white uniforms.

Many of those present on Monday did not identify themselves as supporters of Occupy Central, or even as protesters at all, and said only the police tactics had spurred them into action.


A cluster of young women in smart office clothes, clutching bulging plastic bags, appeared to be on a post-work shopping spree. But they stopped at a hardware store to buy goggles in case of a teargas attack. They were not the only ones. The hardware store sold dozens of pairs of goggles in just 15 minutes.


The marketing employees, who had bags full of crackers, plastic ponchos and water for protesters, had not planned to become involved, but said they felt they had to support them after seeing the scenes of billowing teargas on television. “Not everyone goes to the frontline. They need people to support them with resources,” said Helen Ng.


But she voiced some concern about the potential implications of the campaign: “We want to maintain the good image of Hong Kong. It’s a world city and we want to maintain the image and not, because of the protests, make people think the quality of the people is deteriorating.”

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Due to almost all social media applications being blocked in HK right now, there seems to be an app called FireChat (I think) that not even the great Firewall can block. Instead of using WIFI or 3G/4G, the app lives through bluetooth and uses bluetooth enabled devices to jump and spread.

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Hong Kong chief says voting beats watching TV


Hong Kong's embattled leader attended a flag-raising ceremony Wednesday to mark China's National Day after refusing to meet pro-democracy demonstrators despite their threats to expand the street protests that have posed the stiffest challenge to Beijing's authority since China took control of the former British colony in 1997.


Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying took part in the ceremony — marking the anniversary of the founding of communist China in 1949 — as hundreds of protesters behind police barricades yelled at him to step down, although they fell silent and turned their backs when the ceremony began.


Helicopters flew past carrying the Hong Kong and Chinese flags, with the latter noticeably bigger.


In a speech, Leung made no direct mention of the protesters, who have blocked streets for days across the city to press demands for genuine democratic reforms for Hong Kong's first direct elections in 2017 to choose the city's top leader. Beijing has restricted the voting reforms, requiring candidates to be screened by a committee of mostly pro-Beijing local elites similar to the one who handpicked Leung for the job.


"It is definitely better to have universal suffrage than not," Leung said. "It is definitely better to have the chief executive elected by 5 million eligible voters than by 1,200 people. And it is definitely better to cast your vote at the polling station than to stay home and watch on television the 1,200 members of the Election Committee cast their votes."


As he spoke to a group of dignitaries, pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung shouted for him to step down before he was bundled away by security. Local councilor Paul Zimmerman held up a yellow umbrella — umbrellas used by protesters to deflect police pepper spray have become a symbol of the nonviolent civil disobedience movement.

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Hong Kong's embattled leader believes protests could last weeks: source

Hong Kong authorities will not immediately move to clear tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters occupying large areas of the city, and will let them stay for weeks if need be, a source with ties to leader Leung Chun-ying said on Wednesday.
In contrast, students spearheading the protest movement ratcheted up pressure on Leung, saying they would occupy more government buildings unless the Beijing-backed chief executive stepped down by Thursday night.
Hong Kong protesters are angry about China's decision to limit voters' choices in a 2017 leadership election, and, in a major challenge to Beijing's authority in Hong Kong and beyond, have brought much of the financial hub to a standstill.
As the mass action approached its sixth day on Wednesday evening, the number of people on the streets remained high.
Fears among demonstrators that police might try to remove them forcibly ahead of the National Day holiday marking the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 proved unfounded, and the atmosphere was calm but defiant.
Hong Kong student leader Lester Shum issued an ultimatum to Leung: step down or else face wider protests.
"We will escalate the action if CY Leung doesn't resign by tonight or tomorrow night. We will occupy more government facilities and offices," he told protesters.
"I believe the government is trying to buy more time. They want to use tactics such as sending some people to create chaos so that they would have a good reason to disperse the crowd."



Hong Kong protesters are so freaking nice
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