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Pro-Democracy Protesters Fill Hong Kong


Tens of thousands of residents gather to march in downtown streets during an annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Hong Kong residents began marching through the streets of the former British colony to push for greater democracy

Tens of thousands of residents gather to march in downtown streets during an annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Hong Kong residents began marching through the streets of the former British colony to push for greater democracy

Police in Hong Kong arrested more than 500 people earlier this week. Police officers made the arrests at a protest early Wednesday. The protest took place just hours after a large demonstration in the city. Mario Ritter joins us to explain what it was all about.

On Tuesday, crowds gathered in Hong Kong to mark the 17th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule. Thousands of protesters marched from Victoria Park to the central business area. Many protestors held signs demanding what they consider meaningful democratic reforms. Other denounced Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying.

Organizers said 510,000 people attended the demonstration. However, police estimated the number at just under 100,000.

The July 1st protest was held days after nearly 800,000 Hong Kong voters took part in a special election. They were asked three questions on the election of the city’s top official.

The vote came after China’s central government released a white paper on political reform in the city. China has promised to let Hong Kong residents elect some officials by 2017. But many city residents are angry that only candidates approved by the central government will compete in the elections.

The report said that people in Hong Kong hold many “wrong views” about China’s policy of having “one country, two systems.” Under that policy, China has sought to develop a market economy, while continuing Communist Party rule. China’s government has called the unofficial Hong Kong vote illegal.

On the day of the protest, Chinese state media warned Hong Kong residents against protesting for democracy. The China Daily newspaper noted that the city depends on the mainland for many things from trade and investment to food and water.

Hong Kongers have more civil and political rights than mainland Chinese because of China’s agreement with Britain. That agreement led to the handover of the territory 17 years ago. I’m Mario Ritter.

This report is based on stories by Shannon Van Sant and Richard Green.

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