Hong Kong protest shines spotlight on pro-democracy movement

By Alice Fung, Associated Press

More than a thousand people attended a rally in Hong Kong on Sunday to urge people and governments abroad to support the city’s pro-democracy movement and oppose China’s ruling Communist Party.

Representatives of allied activist groups from Canada, Europe and Taiwan made remarks and led the attendees in chants of “Fight for freedom! Stand with Hong Kong!”

Speakers also celebrated the results of Saturday’s presidential election in Taiwan that saw the Democratic Progressive Party’s Tsai Ing-wen voted to a second term in a landslide.

Months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, have driven home to many in Taiwan the contrast between their democratically-governed island and authoritarian mainland China.

Protesters carry a Hong Kong flag and a flag that reads ‘Hong Kong Independence’ (Vincent Yu/AP/PA)

“The Taiwanese demonstrated how peaceful it could be if we have democracy,” said rally organiser Ventus Lau.

“We have to understand the Taiwanese fought hard in previous decades so that they can have this power today.

“So if we want to have democracy like them, we need to fight hard and to continue our fight with the Communist Party.”

A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. Under the framework of “one country, two systems,” the city enjoys greater democratic rights than those on the mainland, but protesters say those freedoms have been steadily eroding under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Universal suffrage is among the five demands protesters are advocating, along with an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.