BEJING, China — What started with boycotting of classes on Monday, ends in arrests for Hong Kong students on September 26.
In protest demanding for a democracy, demonstrators surged into a square near government headquarters. Demonstrators were shut down when police met them with pepper spray.
It is believed this protest is merely a sample of what is to come next week. Activists have a sit-in planned in the main financial district, set to occur on October 1.
Peaceful demonstrations have occurred to show Chinese opposition against the current government and to show the world China’s broken promise: true democracy, something the Chinese people have been fighting for for 30 years.
When Hong Kong was given back to the Chinese from Britain, the two countries conjured an agreement that Hong Kong would have a “high degree of autonomy,” or in simpler terms, self-government.
China said it would consider direct elections by 2017 six years ago, but said on August 31 voters only have the option to elect a candidate selected by a pro-Beijing nominating committee. Residents were not pleased with the announcement.
Unrest amongst citizens is seen primarily in those 30 and younger. Joshua Wong isa 17-year-old “extremist,” as labeled by China’s state-run media. Wong is an activist with a proactivist group, Scholarism, he created at just 15 years of age.
Wong realized his group’s power when they rallied 120,000 protesters to occupy the government’s headquarters, which forced Hong Kong leaders to withdraw their proposal to implement a pro-Communist curriculum in schools in September 2012.
Other pro-Democracy groups can be seen around Hong Kong, including Occupy, which has focused on electoral demands, is the group of which is arranging the sit-in on the first of next month.
While this battle has been fought for decades and protesters have united in the cause, the young activists are growing impatient. Wong told CNN, “I don’t think our battle is going to be very long. If you have the mentality that striving for democracy is a long, drawn-out war and you take it slowly, you will never achieve it.”
All eyes will be on Hong Kong October 1 to see results of the highly anticipated sit-in.
– Kori Withers
Sources: CNN, BBC, The Guardian, NY Times