Protests Arise in China

Daniel Snodgrass, Staff Writer

Protesters are clogging the streets in Hong Kong, China asking for the right to choose the candidates who will run in the next election for their Chief Executive, the leader of Hong Kong. The leader of the protests is the democracy activist organization Occupy Central; the demonstrators are mostly young adults, older students and young families. For over a month, the protesters have been setting up barricades in certain streets throughout the city and have even been clashing with the opposing Hong Kong police force.

Protestors took to the streets the week that China celebrated the 65th anniversary of its transformation into the People’s Republic of China, originally initiated by Mao Zedong in 1949. Prior to the protests, Beijing said they would allow the citizens of Hong Kong to elect their next leader in the  2017 election; however, the candidates running for the office would be selected by the Chinese Government—a decision unpopular among the demonstrators.

“Occupy Central with Love and Peace”, also known as “Occupy Central”, is the organization behind the protests. The leaders of the group are Benny Tai, a law professor, Chan Kin-man, a sociology professor, and Chu Yiu-ming, a church minister, as stated by BBC . After the ruling was made that the candidates for the election were to be chosen by the Chinese Government, Occupy Central assured that there will be impending protests as a result.

On October 16, Leung Chun-ying, the Hong Kong leader, opened up to talks with the protesters. During a live press conference with CNN, Leung says: “We do not want to see anyone, including students, continuing to occupy the roads for a long time and creating conflict with the public who are disgruntled. We don’t want to see clashes.”

Hong Kong has not always been part of China; it was a British colony from 1800 to 1997. The United Kingdom gave China the colony of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997. Part of the agreement between the two nations was that Hong Kong would be able to keep a large quantity of its self-governance for 50 years, making their autonomy available in 2047.

As the protests continue to rage throughout Hong Kong, the world is on its feet waiting to see if the Chinese government will break underneath the pressure of the movement.