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HK marks 12 years of Chinese rule with protest

 Participants carry flags of China, right, and Hong Kong, left, during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Ho...
 Students carry a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Hong ...
 Students carry a Chinese national flag during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to Ch...
 Participants carry flags of China, center, and Hong Kong during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Hong Kon...
 A poster featuring with Hong Kong's chief executive Donald Tsang and Chinese words that read,  "Donald doesn't represent me," during a parade in a do...

Hong Kong China Anniversary

Participants carry flags of China, right, and Hong Kong, left, during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Ho...

Hong Kong China Anniversary

Students carry a Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Hong ...

APTOPIX Hong Kong China Anniversary

Students carry a Chinese national flag during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to Ch...

Hong Kong China Anniversary

Participants carry flags of China, center, and Hong Kong during a parade in a downtown Hong Kong street to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Hong Kon...

Hong Kong China Anniversary

A poster featuring with Hong Kong's chief executive Donald Tsang and Chinese words that read, "Donald doesn't represent me," during a parade in a do...

Thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets Wednesday to push for democratic rights amid a slumping economy and rising unemployment on the 12th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule.
Demonstrators carried signs reading "Promote Democracy!" and chanted, "Return power to the people!" as they marched from the territory's famous Victoria Park to government headquarters.
"I want democracy in Hong Kong. I want somebody who truly represents me," said Sandy Lam, 54, who recently lost her job at a textile factory. She complained that Hong Kong's policies were failing to help her and her family.
Since its handover to China on July 1, 1997 _ after 156 years of British rule _ Hong Kong has largely retained its Western-style civil liberties, including press freedom and the right to hold public protests. But its people still cannot directly elect the city's chief executive or all legislative members.
Several thousand people joined the march when it started in mid-afternoon. Organizers, however, predicted about 100,000 would take part in the gathering, which is due to continue into the evening.
The rally _ led by pro-democracy lawmakers and activists _ has become an annual event since 2003 to press for democracy and vent dissatisfaction with the government.
Last year's turnout was relatively low because of the Olympics and a still-strong economy, but the downturn and rising unemployment have only stoked anger this year.
Hundreds of civil servants and government contract workers have promised to protest as organized groups for the first time to demand better working conditions and pay _ signs of public frustration that experts say could alarm Beijing.
"We're very angry with the contract terms that we're having," said Tse Tin-wing, chairman of an association of contract postal workers. "We have no choice but take to the street to express our anger."
The protests were a sharp contrast to government-sponsored events earlier in the day. A parade of Chinese dragon dancers and a martial arts performance by Chinese soldiers were meant to emphasize unity with the mainland with nods to China's traditional culture. Hong Kong and Chinese flags were hoisted together in an early morning ceremony led by the territory's leader, Donald Tsang.
Hong Kong's leader is chosen by an 800-member committee dominated by members loyal to Beijing. Half of its legislators are elected, with the rest chosen by interest groups.
Some lawmakers have repeatedly asked for full democracy in 2012, but Beijing ruled last year the territory could only elect its own leader in 2017 and all of its legislators later, possibly no earlier than 2020.


Updated : 2021-03-08 11:23 GMT+08:00