Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong on Thursday demanded full democracy outside government headquarters, speaking out against China’s suppression of civil liberties on the third anniversary of a major pro-democracy movement, Reuters reports:
Unfurling a mass of yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the 2014 movement that blocked major roads in the financial hub for close to three months, the demonstrators gathered at the same spot where police fired tear gas on the crowds three years ago. The 2014 Hong Kong protests were considered one of the boldest populist challenges to China’s Communist Party rulers since the 1989 pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
“We have no fear,” the protesters shouted as police looked on. “We want universal suffrage.”
Joshua Wong (right), aged 17 when he helped lead the movement, and now in jail for unlawful assembly, said Hong Kong was becoming increasingly suppressed, with an estimated 100 activists, most of them young, embroiled in legal proceedings, The Times adds.
“As Hong Kong ushers in a heightened authoritarian era, to advocate human rights is to risk becoming a political detainee. This is the new normal,” Wong wrote from jail for the Guardian newspaper on Thursday.
“One simply cannot turn a blind eye and kid oneself that Hong Kong is still the same as it has always been.”
Three years after the pro-democracy uprising that gave the Umbrella Movement its name, the draconian government crackdown is raising concerns over a chilling effect as three student leaders serve time and others stand trial, Nikkei adds:
Benny Tai (left), the University of Hong Kong professor who had advocated the Occupy Central movement, encouraged people to maintain hope even as the government continued its campaign of intimidation.
“We need to adjust our mentality,” said Tai, a law professor and one of the leaders of the 2014 protests.