Hong Kong activists hold China protest ahead of Xi trip

2017-06-26 11:36
(Anthony Wallace, AFP)

(Anthony Wallace, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters on Monday draped a black flag over a statue symbolising the city's return to China by Britain, days before a visit by President Xi Jinping to mark 20 years since the handover.

High-profile student campaigner Joshua Wong and a dozen demonstrators attached the black cloth to the giant golden bauhinia flower on Hong Kong's harbourfront in an early morning protest as security tried to stop them climbing on the famous tourist attraction.

"The black-cloaked statue symbolises the hard-line rule of the authoritarian regime over the past twenty years," the protesters said in a statement.

The sculpture of the bauhinia, which became the emblem of Hong Kong after the handover, was a present to the city from China in 1997 and stands outside the convention centre where Xi will attend anniversary events during a three-day visit starting on Thursday.

OPINION: Hong Kong's election - A vote without voters

Police were called to take the flag down while the protesters chanted "democratic self-determination for Hong Kong's future" and "one country, two systems has been a lie for 20 years", referring to Hong Kong's semi-autonomous status.

A guard shouted at them: "You are insulting our country! You are Chinese!"

The "one country, two systems" deal made when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 allows the city rights denied on the mainland, including freedom of speech.

But there are increasing concerns Beijing is trampling the agreement by interfering in a range of areas, from politics to education and media.

Campaigners like Wong are calling for democratic reforms, promised in the handover deal, to change a system where the city leader is still chosen by a pro-China committee and the legislature is weighted towards Beijing.

Wong led mass Umbrella Movement rallies calling for fully free leadership elections in 2014, but they failed to win concessions.

Since then calls for self-determination or even full independence from China have emerged for the first time.

Wong's party Demosisto wants a public referendum on Hong Kong's future in 2047, the year the handover agreement guaranteeing the city's way of life and liberties expires.

"The protest action aims to express our anger and disappointment against the administration for the major political blunders since 1997," Demosisto said in a statement.

OPINION: Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement changes strategy

It accused China of failing to honour promises made in the handover agreement, "depriving Hong Kong people of civil and political rights to free elections and democracy".

Xi's visit will be his first since becoming president in 2013 and will culminate with the inauguration of Hong Kong's new leader, Carrie Lam, on Saturday.

Protesters say they are preparing to gather during the handover celebrations and Xi's visit will be shrouded in a huge security operation.

Read more on:    xi jinping  |  china  |  hong kong

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.