Friday, January 2, 2015

Student Protests in Hong Kong

Protests in Hong Kong began in September 2014, after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) of the People's Republic of China announced its decision onproposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system. In its decision, the NPCSC said that civil nominations, whereby a candidate could run for election to the Hong Kong Legislative Council if he or she received signed endorsement of 1% of the registered voters, would be disallowed. The decision stated that a 1200-member nominating committee, the composition of which remains subject to a second round of consultation, would elect two to three electoral candidates with more than half of the votes before the general public could vote on them.[9]
Demonstrations began outside the Hong Kong Government headquarters, and members of what would eventually be called the Umbrella Movement occupied several major city intersections.[10] The Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism began protesting outside the government headquarters on 22 September 2014 against the NPCSC's decision.[11]On the evening of 26 September, several hundred demonstrators led by Joshua Wongbreached a security barrier and entered the forecourt of the Central Government Complex(nicknamed "Civic Square"), which was once a public space that has been barred from public entry since July 2014. Officers cordoned off protesters within the courtyard and restricted their movement overnight, eventually removing them by force the next day.[12][13]
On 28 September, the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement announced that they would begin their civil disobedience campaign immediately.[14] Protesters blocked both east–west arterial routes in northern Hong Kong Island near Admiralty. Police tactics (including the use of tear gas) and attacks on protesters by opponents that included triad members, triggered more citizens to join the protests, occupying Causeway Bay and Mong Kok.[15][16][17] The number of protesters peaked at more than 100,000 at any given time.[18][19] In a poll conducted in December, up to 20% of the 1,011 surveyed responded that they have taken part in the protests. [20] The government called for an end to the protests by setting a 'deadline' of 6 October, but this was ignored by protesters, although they allowed government workers to enter offices that had previously been blocked.[21]
The state-run Chinese media claimed repeatedly that the West had played an "instigating" role in the protests, and that "more people in Hong Kong are supporting the anti-Occupy Central movement," and warned of "deaths and injuries and other grave consequences."[22] In an opinion poll carried out by Chinese University of Hong Kong, only 36.1% of 802 people surveyed between 8–15 October accept NPCSC's decision but 55.6% are willing to accept if HKSAR Government would democratise the nominating committee during the 2nd phase of public consultation period.[23]

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