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Hong Kong’s Protests Show Generation Gap

Generational Differences in Hong Kong’s Protests
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Most of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future.

Generational Differences in Hong Kong’s Protests
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Students have been leading democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The protests have shown what observers are calling a generation gap -- sharp differences between the student demonstrators and their parents. Many parents are more likely than their children to express support for stability or calm than democracy. But as the older generation worries about today, the protesters say they are fighting for Hong Kong’s future.

Most of the protesters are students who have boycotted their classes. They oppose China’s decision to influence who may be a candidate for the first direct leadership election in Hong Kong. The vote is set for 2017.

A few older adults have joined the weeks-old protests in the center of the Chinese territory. But the protest leaders are young people.

Clara Thang is one of the protesters. She says the students cannot talk about the protest movement with their parents because their parents do not support their involvement.

“So, what we need is that we need communication, we need to talk between people, between opinions, between different camps. But, then if they don’t really talk -- just like the government and the student representatives. If the government is not willing to talk, just like my father is not willing to talk, and they’re just trying to push everything, their belief, to you, so how can there be real communication? It’s just impossible.”

On a recent day, student demonstrators faced off with a middle-aged woman after she removed protest signs. The woman refused to identify herself. But she was willing to tell VOA why she removed the signs.

“I just don’t like them. That’s all. There’s no democracy here. They are the boss now.”

Some older, working class people do support the protestors and their calls to reform the territory’s constitution. They also want the city’s leader, who is supported by China, to leave office.

One man brought his young daughter to join the demonstration.

“It’s a kind of civic education to let them know maybe in our generation we cannot fight for democracy but the hope is on them.”

The protestors say Hong Kong’s freedoms are threatened. They say they are willing to fight to keep those freedoms.

I’m Caty Weaver.

*This report was based on a story from VOA Correspondent Daniel Schearf in Hong Kong. Christopher Cruise wrote it for Learning English. The editor was George Grow. ______________________________________________________________

Words in this Story

generation – n. a group of people born and living during the same time

stability – n. the quality or condition of something that is not easily moved or likely to change; firmness

boycott – v. to refuse to take part in or deal with

constitution – n. the written general laws and ideas that form a nation’s system of government

Now it’s your turn to use these Words in this Story. In the comments section, write a sentence using one of these words and we will provide feedback on your use of vocabulary and grammar.