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Hong Kong students protest 'fake democracy'

September 22, 2014

Students across Hong Kong have boycotted classes, kicking off a week of pro-democracy rallies. The protesters are demanding the reversal of a new election plan which will give China more sway in the next election.

Hong Kong Studentenstreik 22.09.2014
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

"How can a few people decide Hong Kong's future? Why not seven million of Hong Kong's people?" Alex Chow, the general secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, cried out before several thousands protesters in Hong Kong on Monday.

Last month, China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress, announced that a new "broadly representative committee" would nominate candidates for Hong Kong's next chief executive in the 2017 election. The move was seen as a reversal of China's promise that the elections in three years would be the first since the handover to be decided by universal suffrage.

In response to the policy change by Beijing, students from a number of universities in Hong Kong are staging a series of mass protests throughout the week in what has been billed by pro-democracy activists as a "new era of civil disobedience."

Continued protests

The demonstrations began on Monday on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where an estimated 3,000 students gathered, abandoning their scheduled classes.

"Pre-selected candidates by a controlled nominating committee can only represent vested interests, but not the general public," Chow told the crowd.

"If we hear nothing from them, the students, the people will definitely upgrade the movement to another level," the student leader added.

In recent months, a number of groups have staged protests in the financial hub, including a Occupy Central. In June, the activist group held an unofficial referendum on the election reform by Beijing. The vast majority of the 800,000 people who cast ballots said they wanted the public to nominate candidates for Hong Kong's chief executive, not a committee loyal to Beijing.

Monday's demonstrations reportedly coincided with a visit by roughly 60 Hong Kong tycoons to Beijing, where they were meeting with Chinese Xi Jingping, according to the Associated Press.

kms/tj (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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