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2014 Hong Kong protests

2014 Hong Kong protests
Protesters outside government headquarters
Date 28 September 2014 (28 September 2014) – ongoing
Location

Hong Kong, primarily:

  • Admiralty (26 September 2014 (26 September 2014) – ongoing)
  • Mong Kok (28 September 2014 (28 September 2014) – ongoing; mobile street protest since 27 November)
  • Causeway Bay (28 September 2014 (28 September 2014) – ongoing)
  • Tsim Sha Tsui (1 October 2014 (1 October 2014) – 3 October 2014 (3 October 2014))
Causes Standing Committee of the National People's Congress decision on electoral reform regarding future Hong Kong Chief Executive and Legislative Council elections
Goals
  • Universal suffrage accepted under international standards
  • The resignation of Chief Executive CY Leung
Methods Sit-ins, civil disobedience, hunger strikes, internet activism, hacking
Parties to the civil conflict

No centralised leadership in the protest

Umbrella Movement

Pro-democracy activists
Authorities
Anti-Occupy groups
Triads[1]
Arrests and injuries
  • Arrests: 319
    (As of 1 November 2014)[2]
  • Injuries: 298 treated at Accident & Emergency Departments (As of 20 October 2014)[3]
  • Arrests: At least 38
    (As of 5 October 2014)[4]
  • Injuries: 65
    (As of 1 November 2014)[2]
Sites of significant protests
 Ongoing occupation site(s)

 Mobile street protests

 Former occupation site(s)

The 2014 Hong Kong protests, also called the Umbrella Revolution (Chinese: 雨傘革命), began in September 2014 when members of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong protested outside the Hong Kong Government headquarters and occupied several major city intersections after China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) announced its decision on proposed electoral reform.[5] In disallowing civil nominations, the NPCSC made it clear that a 1200-member nominating committee, in which the composition remains subject to a second round of consultation, would elect two to three electoral candidates with more than half of the votes before the general public could vote on them.[6]

The Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism began protesting outside the government headquarters on 22 September 2014 against the NPCSC's decision.[7] On the evening of 26 September, several hundred demonstrators led by Joshua Wong breached a security barrier and entered the forecourt of the Central Government Complex (nicknamed "Civic Square"), which was once a public space that has been barred from public entry since July 2014. Officers cordoned off protesters within the courtyard and restricted their movement overnight, eventually removing them by force the next day.[8][9]

On 28 September, the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement announced that they would begin their civil disobedience campaign immediately.[10] Protesters blocked both east–west arterial routes in northern Hong Kong Island near Admiralty. Police tactics (including the use of tear gas) and attacks on protesters by opponents that included triad members, triggered more citizens to join the protests, occupying Causeway Bay and Mong Kok.[11][12][13] The number of protesters peaked at more than 100,000.[14][15] The government called for an end to the protests by setting a 'deadline' of 6 October, but this was ignored by protesters, although they allowed government workers to enter offices that had previously been blocked.[16] The state-run Chinese media claimed repeatedly that the West had played an "instigating" role in the protests, and that "more people in Hong Kong are supporting the anti-Occupy Central movement," and warned of "deaths and injuries and other grave consequences."[17] In an opinion poll carried out by Chinese University of Hong Kong, only 36.1% of 802 people surveyed between 8–15 October accept NPCSC's decision but 55.6% are willing to accept if HKSAR Government would democratise the nominating committee during the 2nd phase of public consultation period.[18] On 23 October, the United Nations Human Rights Committee emphasised "the need to ensure universal suffrage, which means both the right to be elected as well as the right to vote."[19] China's Foreign Ministry responded that China's policy on Hong Kong's elections had "unshakable legal status and effect".[20]

Contents

  • Background 1
    • Political background 1.1
    • Standing Committee decision on electoral reform 1.2
  • Events 2
    • September 2014 2.1
    • October 2014 2.2
    • November 2014 2.3
    • December 2014 2.4
  • Triad involvement and protester recruitment allegations 3
  • Impact 4
    • Effects on business and transport 4.1
    • Effects on Hong Kong society 4.2
  • Local media 5
  • Chinese government and media 6
    • Censorship 6.1
    • Allegations of foreign interference 6.2
    • Law and order 6.3
    • Other pronouncements 6.4
  • Chinese dissent 7
  • Domestic reactions 8
    • Political 8.1
    • Business sector 8.2
  • International reactions 9
    • United Nations 9.1
    • States 9.2
    • Foreign media 9.3
  • Other worldwide events 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
    • Sources 12.1
  • External links 13

Background

Political background

As a result of the negotiations and the 1984 agreement between China and Britain, the British colony Hong Kong was returned to the People's Republic of China and became its first Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997, under the principle of "one country, two systems". Hong Kong has a different political system from mainland China. Hong Kong's independent judiciary functions under the common law framework.[21][22] The Hong Kong Basic Law, the constitutional document drafted by the Chinese side before the handover based on the terms enshrined in the Joint Declaration,[23] governs its political system, and stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign relations and military defence.[24] The declaration stipulates that the region maintain its capitalist economic system and guarantees the rights and freedoms of its people for at least 50 years after the 1997 handover. The guarantees over the territory's autonomy and the individual rights and freedoms are enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law, which outlines the system of governance of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, but which is subject to the interpretation of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC).[25][26]

The leader of Hong Kong, the Chief Executive, is currently elected by a 1200-member Election Committee, though Article 45 of the Basic Law states that "the ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures."[27] A 2007 decision by the Standing Committee opened the possibility of selecting the Chief Executive via universal suffrage in the 2017 Chief Executive election,[28] and the first round of consultations to implement the needed electoral reforms ran for five months in early 2014. Chief Executive CY Leung then, per procedure, submitted a report to the Standing Committee inviting them to deliberate whether it is necessary to amend the method of selection of the Chief Executive.[29]

Standing Committee decision on electoral reform

On 31 August 2014, the tenth session of the Standing Committee in the twelfth National People's Congress set limits for the 2016 Legislative Council election and 2017 Chief Executive election. While notionally allowing for universal suffrage, the decision imposes the standard that "the Chief Executive shall be a person who loves the country and loves Hong Kong," and stipulates "the method for selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage must provide corresponding institutional safeguards for this purpose". The decision states that for the 2017 Chief Executive election, a nominating committee, mirroring the present 1200-member Election Committee be formed to nominate two to three candidates, each of whom must receive the support of more than half of the members of the nominating committee. After popular election of one of the nominated candidates, the Chief Executive-elect "will have to be appointed by the Central People's Government." The process of forming the 2016 Legislative Council would be unchanged, but following the new process for the election of the Chief Executive, a new system to elect the Legislative Council via universal suffrage would be developed with the approval of Beijing.[5]

The Standing Committee decision is set to be the basis for electoral reform crafted by the Legislative Council. Hundreds of suffragists gathered on the night of the Beijing announcement near the government offices to protest the decision.[30][31]

Events

At a gathering in Hong Kong on 1 September to explain the NPCSC decision, deputy secretary general Li Fei said that the procedure would protect the broad stability of Hong Kong now and in the future.[30] Pro-democracy advocates viewed the decision as a betrayal of the principle of "one person, one vote," in that candidates deemed unsuitable by the Beijing authorities would have been pre-emptively screened out by the mechanism.[30] About 100 suffragists attended the gathering, and some were ejected for heckling and protesting.[30] Police broke up a group of demonstrators protesting outside the hotel where Li was staying, arresting 19 people for illegal assembly.[32]

In response to the NPCSC decision, the Voice of Loving Hong Kong, Caring Hong Kong Power and the Hong Kong Youth Care Association – have appeared on the scene and have been playing the role of Leung's hired "thugs", using Cultural Revolution-style language and methods to oppose Hong Kong's pan-democratic parties and groups."[174] Both Apple Daily and the Taiwan Central News Agency, as well as some pan-democrat legislators in Hong Kong, have named the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Public Security as being responsible for the attacks.[175][176][177]

  • History and Timeline of Events Bloomberg
  • October 11 Open letter to Xi Jinping
  • Umbrella Revolution Photo Gallery
  • "Hong Kong: Occupy Central". Al Jazeera

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

External links

  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – THE FIRST 12 HOURS: Full report as events unfolded". South China Morning Post. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY TWO: Full report of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT TWO: Full report of all the night's events". South China Morning Post. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY THREE: Full report of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT THREE: Full coverage of all the night's events". South China Morning Post. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY FOUR: Full coverage of all the day's events". South China Morning Post. 1 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT FOUR: Full coverage of all the night's events". South China Morning Post. 1 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY FIVE: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 2 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT FIVE: Full coverage of the night's events". South China Morning Post. 2 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY SIX: Full coverage of the day’s events". South China Morning Post. 3 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT SIX: Full coverage of the night's events". South China Morning Post. 3 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY SEVEN: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 4 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT SEVEN: Full coverage of the night's events". South China Morning Post. 4 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY EIGHT: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 5 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT EIGHT: Full coverage of the night's events". South China Morning Post. 5 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY NINE: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 6 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – NIGHT NINE: Full coverage of the night's events". South China Morning Post. 6 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 10: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 7 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 11: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 8 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 12: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 9 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 13: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 10 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 14: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 11 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 15: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 12 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 16: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 13 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 17: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 14 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 18: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 15 October 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 19: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 16 October 2014. 
  • "Stand-off ensues between protesters and police in Mong Kok". South China Morning Post. 26 November 2014. 
  • "OCCUPY CENTRAL – DAY 64: Full coverage of the day's events". South China Morning Post. 1 December 2014. 

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References

See also

Rallies in support of the protests have occurred in over 64 cities worldwide, principally in front of Hong Kong trade missions or Chinese consulates.[298][299][300] The demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in London attracted 3000 participants.[298] Petitions in Australia and Taiwanese police after crowding a Hong Kong trade office.[299] On 1 October, a gathering in Taipei's Liberty Square drew over 10,000 people in support of the protests.[301] At the East Asian Cup qualifying match against Hong Kong on 16 November, Taiwanese football fans waved yellow umbrellas in a show of support. While the Chinese national anthem played, spectators sang "Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies".[302] In Singapore, hundreds of people participated in a candlelight vigil at Hong Lim Park on 1 October to show support to the Occupy Central protesters.[303]

3,000–4,000 people gathered outside Chinese Embassy London to support the umbrella revolution in Hong Kong on 1 October 2014

Other worldwide events

The incident has captured the attention of American and European media after the clearance and arrests outside the Central Government Complex. Student leader Joshua Wong featured on the cover of Time magazine during the week of his 18th birthday,[294] and the movement was written about, also as a cover story, the following week.[295] While the local pan-democrats and the majority of the Western press supported the protesters' aspirations for universal suffrage, Martin Jacques, writing for The Guardian, argued that the PRC had "overwhelmingly honoured its commitment to the principle of one country, two systems". He believed that the reason for the unrest is "the growing sense of dislocation among a section of Hong Kong's population" since 1997.[296] Tim Summers, in an op-ed for CNN, said that the protests were fuelled by dissatisfaction with the Hong Kong government, but the catalyst was the decision of the NPCSC. Criticising politicians' and the media's interpretation of the agreements and undertakings of the PRC, Summer said "all the Joint Declaration said is that the chief executive will be 'appointed by the central people's government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations to be held locally [in Hong Kong].' Britain's role as co-signatory of that agreement gives it no legal basis for complaint on this particular point, and the lack of democracy for the executive branch before 1997 leaves it little moral high ground either."[297]

Foreign media

In Taiwan, the situation in Hong Kong is closely monitored since China aims to reunify the island with a "one country, two systems" model similar to one that is used in Hong Kong.[289] President Ma Ying-jeou expressed concern for the developments in Hong Kong and its future,[290] and said the realisation of universal suffrage will be a win-win scenario for both Hong Kong and mainland China.[291] On 10 October, Taiwan's National Day, President Ma urged China to introduce constitutional democracy, saying "now that the 1.3 billion people on the mainland have become moderately wealthy, they will of course wish to enjoy greater democracy and rule of law. Such a desire has never been a monopoly of the west, but is the right of all humankind."[292] In response to Ma's comments, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said Beijing was "firmly opposed to remarks on China's political system and Hong Kong's political reforms .... Taiwan should refrain from commenting on the issue."[293]

British member of parliament and chairman of the Commons Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Richard Ottaway, denounced China's declaration that the committee would be refused permission to enter Hong Kong on their planned visit in late December as part of their inquiry into progress of the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Ottaway sought confirmation from the China's deputy ambassador after receiving a letter from the central government that his group's visit "would be perceived to be siding with the protesters involved in Occupy Central and other illegal activities", and was told that the group would be turned back.[288]

British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed deep concern about clashes in Hong Kong and said that he felt an obligation to the former colony.[277][278] Cameron said on 15 October that Britain should stand up for the rights set out in the Anglo-Chinese agreement.[279] The Foreign Office called on Hong Kong to uphold residents' rights to demonstrate, and said that the best way to guarantee these rights is through transition to universal suffrage.[280][281] Former Hong Kong Governor and current Chancellor of the University of Oxford Chris Patten expressed support for the protests[282] and denounced the Iranian-style democratic model for the city.[283] Citing China's obligation to Britain to adhere to the terms of Sino-British Joint Declaration,[284] he urged the British government to put greater pressure on the Chinese state, and to help China and Hong Kong find a solution to the impasse.[285] The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Patten should realise that "times have changed",[286] and that no party had the right to interfere in China's domestic affairs.[287]

Leaders of countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Vatican City, United Kingdom, and the United States, supported the protesters' right to protest and their cause of universal suffrage and urged restraint on all sides, with the notable exception of Russia, whose state media claimed that the protests were another West-sponsored colour revolution similar to the Euromaidan.[17][273][274] German president Joachim Gauck, celebrating the 24th anniversary of German reunification, praised the spirit of Hong Kong's suffragists to their own of 24 years ago who overcame their fear of their oppressors;[275] Chancellor Angela Merkel said freedom of speech should remain guaranteed by law in Hong Kong.[276]

States

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry confirmed on the following day that the Covenant, signed by China in 1998, did apply to Hong Kong, but said that, nonetheless, "The covenant is not a measure for Hong Kong's political reform", and that China's policy on Hong Kong's elections had "unshakable legal status and effect". Reuters observed that "It was not immediately clear how, if the covenant applied to Hong Kong, it could have no bearing on its political reform."[20]

On 23 October, the UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, urged China to allow free elections in Hong Kong.[271][272] The committee emphasised specifically that 'universal suffrage' includes the right to stand for office as well as the right to vote. Describing China's actions as "not satisfactory", the committee's chairman Konstantine Vardzelashvili announced that "The main concerns of Committee members were focused on the right to stand for elections without unreasonable restrictions."[19]

United Nations

International reactions

The Federation of Hong Kong Industries, whose 3,000 manufacturer members are largely unaffected as manufacturing in Hong Kong has been largely de-localised to the mainland, oppose the protests, due to concerns for the effects on investor confidence.[245] While the business groups have expressed concern at the disruption caused to their members,[267][268] the city's wealthiest individuals have kept a relatively low-profile as they faced the dilemma of losing the patronage of CPC leadership while trying to avoid further escalation with overt condemnations of the movement.[245] On the 19th day, Li Ka-Shing recognised that students' voices had been noted by Beijing, and urged them to go home "to avoid any regret".[269] Li was, however, criticised by Xinhua for not being unambiguous in his opposition for the movement and his support for Leung.[245] Lui Che Woo, the second richest man in Asia, appeared to hold a more pro-Beijing stance by stating that "citizens should be thankful to the police".[270] Lui was opposed to "any activity that has a negative impact on the Hong Kong economy".[245]

Business sector

On 29 October, chairman of the Financial Services Development Council and Executive Councillor, Laura Cha, created controversy for the government and for HSBC, of which she is a board member, when she said: "African-American slaves were liberated in 1861, but did not get voting rights until 107 years later. So why can't Hong Kong wait for a while?" An online petition called for her to apologise and withdraw her remarks. A spokesman for the Executive Council stated in an e-mail on 31 October that "She did not mean any disrespect and regrets that her comment has caused concerns".[14][264][265][266]

Former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa when urging the students to end the occupation, praised their "great sacrifice" in the pursuit of democracy, and said that "the rule of law and obeying the law form the cornerstone of democracy."[263]

Director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, Law Yuk-kai, was dissatisfied with the unnecessary violence by the police. He said students only broke into the Civic Square to sit-in peacefully with no intentions of destroying government premises.[259] He questioned the mobilisation of riot police while protesters staged no conflict. Also, the overuse of batons was underestimated by the police because the weapon could severely harm protesters.[259] Legislative Council Chairman Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has disagreed that the police were excessively violent, saying they would not misuse pepper spray.[260] and contrary to the claims of other pro-establishment members, Tsang sees little evidence of "foreign forces" at play.[261] Member of Legislative Council Albert Ho of Democratic Party said, "[Attack on protesters] was one of the tactics used by the communists in mainland China from time to time. They use triads or pro-government mobs to try to attack you so the government will not have to assume responsibility."[262]

Former Chief Secretary Anson Chan expressed disappointment at Britain's silence on the matter and urged Britain to assert its legal and moral responsibility towards Hong Kong and not just think about trade opportunities. Chan dismissed China's accusation of foreign interference, saying: "Nobody from outside could possibly stir up this sort of depth of anger and frustration."[257] Former Legco president Rita Fan said "to support the movement, some protesters background have resources that are supported by foreign forces using young people for a cause. To pursue democracy that effects other people's livelihood is a form of democratic dictatorship."[258]

Political

A double-decker bus in Mong Kok is used as a message board

Domestic reactions

Amnesty International said that at least 37 mainland Chinese have been detained for supporting Hong Kong protesters in different ways: some posted pictures and messages online, others had been planning to travel to Hong Kong to join protesters. A poetry reading planned for 2 October in Beijing's Songzhuang art colony to support Hong Kong protesters was disrupted, and a total of eight people were detained. A further 60 people have been taken in for questioning by police.[255][256]

In urging students to set aside their protest, Bao Tong, the former political secretary of CPC general secretary Zhao Ziyang, said he could not predict what the leadership would do.[252] He believed Zhao meant universal suffrage where everyone had the right to vote freely, and not this "special election with Chinese characteristics".[252][253] Bao said today's PRC leaders should respect the principle that HK citizens rule themselves, or Deng Xiaoping's promises to Hong Kong would have been fake.[252][253] Hu Jia co-authored an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, in which he wrote "China has the potential to become an even more relentless, aggressive dictatorship than Russia... Only a strong, unambiguous warning from the US will cause either of those countries to carefully consider the costs of new violent acts of repression. Hong Kong and Ukraine are calling for the rebirth of American global leadership for freedom and democracy.[254]

Chinese dissent

Beijing refused to grant a visa to Richard Graham, British member of parliament who had said in a parliamentary debate on Hong Kong that Britain had a duty to uphold the principles of the Sino-British joint declaration. This resulted in the cancellation of a visit by a cross-party parliament group due to visit China, led by Peter Mandelson. Graham had also asserted that "Stability for nations is not, in our eyes, about maintaining the status quo regardless, but about reaching out for greater involvement with the people – in this case, of Hong Kong – allowing them a greater say in choosing their leaders and, above all, trusting in the people".[251]

The Chinese authorities are rumoured to have blacklisted 47 entertainers from Hong Kong who had openly supported the suffragists, and the list made the rounds on social media.[248] Denise Ho, Chapman To and actor Anthony Wong, who are among the highest profile supporters of the movement, were strongly criticised by the official Xinhua News Agency.[249] In response to the possible ban from the Chinese market, Chow Yun-fat, was quoted as saying "I'll just make less, then". Reporting of Chow's riposte was subject to Mainland Chinese internet censors.[250]

Deputy director of China's National People's Congress Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee, Li Shenming, stated: "In today's China, engaging in an election system of one-man-one-vote is bound to quickly lead to turmoil, unrest and even a situation of civil war."[246] The mainland media also contested the protesters demands for democracy by blaming the colonial rulers, saying Britain "gave our Hong Kong compatriots not one single day of it", notwithstanding the fact that de-classified British diplomatic documents indicate that the lack of democracy since at least late 1950s was largely attributable to the refusal of the PRC to allow it.[247]

While the Western press noticed the apparent silence of Hong Kong's richest businessmen since the occupation began,[241][242][243] Xinhua News Agency posted an English-language article in the morning of 25 October criticising the absence of condemnation of the occupation from the city's tycoons in response to the protest, but the article was deleted several hours later.[244][245] A replacement article that appeared that evening, in Chinese, stated how tycoons strongly condemned the protest, and quoted a number of them with pre-occupation soundbites reiterating how the occupation would damage Hong Kong's international reputation, disrupt social disorder and cause other harmful problems to society.[244]

Other pronouncements

Chinese government officials have routinely affirmed the Chinese government's firm support for the chief executive and for the continued "necessary, reasonable and lawful" actions by the police against the illegal protests.[118][229][233]

By 6 October, official Chinese media outlets called for "all the people to create an anti-Occupy Central atmosphere in the society". The protesters were described as "going against the principle of democracy". A commentary in the China Review News claimed that "the US is now hesitant in its support for the Occupy Central. If those campaign organisers suddenly soften their approach, it will show that their American masters are giving out a different order."[239][240]

On 1 October, China News Service criticised the protesters for "bringing shame to the rule of law in Hong Kong";[233] the People's Daily said that the Beijing stance on Hong Kong's elections is "unshakeable" and legally valid. Stating that the illegal occupation was hurting Hong Kong, it warned of "unimaginable consequences"[234] Some observers remarked that the editorial was similar to the April 26 Editorial that foreshadowed the suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[235][236] A state television editorial urged authorities to "deploy police enforcement decisively" and "restore the social order in Hong Kong as soon as possible," and again warned of "unimaginable consequences",[237] and a front page commentary in People's Daily on 3 October repeated that the protests "could lead to deaths and injuries and other grave consequences."[11][238]

Law and order

[232][17] Apart from being used as a straightforward means to avoid blame, analysts said that Chinese claims of foreign involvement, which may be rooted in Marxist ideology, or simply in an authoritarian belief that "spontaneity is impossible", are "a pre-emptive strike making it very difficult for the American and British governments" to support the protests.[231] term – has been frequently used in a conspiracy theory alleging foreign sources of instigation.Stalinist) – a hardline 敌对势力 The China Media Project of the University of Hong Kong noted that the phrase "hostile forces" ([230][226] In a televised interview on 19 October, Chief Executive CY Leung repeated Chinese claims about foreign responsibility for the protests, but declined to give details.[229] On 15 October, an unnamed Chinese government official stated that "interference certainly exists", citing "the statements and the rhetoric and the behaviour of the outside forces of political figures, of some parliamentarians and individual media".[228] The US State Department categorically rejected accusations that the US was "manipulating the activities of any person, group or political party in Hong Kong."[227] The [30] Li Fei, the first Chinese official to address Hong Kong about the NPCSC decision, accused democracy advocates of being tools for subversion by Western forces who were set at undermining the authority of the Communist Party. Li alleged that they were "sowing confusion" and "misleading society".

Allegations of foreign interference

On 28 September it emerged that Chinese government authorities had issued the following censorship directive: "All websites must immediately clear away information about Hong Kong students violently assaulting the government and about 'Occupy Central.' Promptly report any issues. Strictly manage interactive channels, and resolutely delete harmful information. This [directive] must be followed precisely."[212][213][214] Censors rapidly deleted messages internet posts with words such as "Hong Kong," "barricades", "Occupy Central" and "umbrella".[215][216] Sections of the CNN reporting from Hong Kong was also disrupted.[215] Most Chinese newspapers have not covered the protests except for editorials critical of the protests and devoid of any context,[215][217] or articles mentioning the negative impact of the occupation.[218] The Chinese website of the BBC was completely blocked after a video showing the violent assault on a protester by police on 15 October hosted on the site went viral.[219] Amnesty International reported that dozens of Chinese people have been arrested for showing support for the protests.[220] Facebook and Twitter are already blocked on the mainland, and now as a result of the sharing of images of the protests, PRC censors have now blocked Instagram.[216][221] However, Reuters noted that searches for "Umbrella Revolution" up to 30 September escaped censors on Sina Weibo but not on Tencent Weibo.[222]

Censorship

Xi Jinping stated his support for CY Leung on the 44th day of the occupation, saying the occupation was a "direct challenge not just to the SAR and its governance but also to Beijing". Xi also said that Leung's administration must govern to safeguard the rule of law and maintain social order.[211]

Beijing is generally reported as being concerned about similar popular demands for political reform on the mainland that would erode the Communist Party's hold on power.[30] Reuters sources revealed that the decision to offer no concessions was made at a meeting of the National Security Commission of the Communist Party of China chaired by General secretary Xi Jinping in the first week of October. "[We] move back one step and the dam will burst," a source was reported as saying, referring to mainland provinces such as Xinjiang and Tibet making similar demands for democratic elections.[206][207] The New York Times China correspondents say that the strategy for dealing with the crisis in Hong Kong was being planned under supervision from the top-tier national leadership, which was being briefed on a daily basis. According to the report, Hong Kong officials are in meetings behind the scenes with mainland officials in neighbouring Shenzhen, at a resort owned by the central government liaison office.[208] The HKFS, which had been hoping to send a delegation to meet with the leadership in Beijing, was rebuffed by Tung Chee-hwa, vice chairman of the NPC, whom they asked to help set up the meetings.[209][210]

Chinese government and media

Internet security firm Cloudfare said that, like for the attacks on PopVote sponsored by OCLP earlier in the year, the volume of junk traffic aimed at paralysing Apple Daily servers was an unprecedented 500Gb/s and involved at least five botnets. Servers were bombarded with in excess of 250 million DNS requests per second, equivalent to the average volume of DNS requests for the entire Internet. And where the attacks do not succeed directly, they have caused some internet service providers to pre-emptively block such sites under attack to protect their own servers and lines.[205]

The prominent local station, TVB, originally broadcast footage of police officers beating a protester on 15 October, but the station experienced internal conflict during the broadcast.[202] The pre-dawn broadcasts soundtrack mentioning "punching and kicking" was re-recorded to say that the officers were "suspected of using excessive force".[203] Secret audio recordings from an internal meeting were uploaded onto YouTube that included the voice of TVB director Keith Yuen Chi-wai asking "On what grounds can we say officers dragged him to a dark corner, and punched and kicked him?"[203] The protester was later named as Civic Party member Ken Tsang, who was also a member of the Election Committee that returned CY Leung as the city's Chief Executive.[202] About 57 journalists expressed their dissatisfaction with the handling of the broadcast. A petition by TVB staff to management protesting the handling of the event was signed by news staff.[202] The list grew to 80+ people including employees from sports, economics and other departments.[204]

Many of Hong Kong's media outlets are owned by local tycoons who have significant business ties in the mainland, so they all adopt self-censorship at some level and have mostly maintained a conservative editorial line in their coverage of the protests.[200] Next Media, being Hong Kong's only openly pro-democracy media conglomerate, has been the target of blockades by anti-Occupy protesters, cyberattacks, and hijacks of their delivery trucks. The uneven spread of viewpoints on traditional media has turned young people to social media for news, which The Guardian has described as making the protests "the best-documented social movement in history, with even its quieter moments generating a maelstrom of status updates, shares and likes."[201] People at protest sites now rely on alternative media whose launches were propelled by the umbrella revolution, or actively covered news from a perspective not found in traditional journals. Even the recently defunct House News resurrected itself, reformatted as The House News Bloggers. Radical viewpoints are catered for at Hong Kong Peanut, and Passion Times – run by Civic Passion.[200]

The media stage at the Admiralty occupy site

Local media

In an opinion poll of Hong Kong citizens carried out since 4 October by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 59% of the 850 people surveyed supported the protesters in their refusal to accept the government plan for the 2017 election. 29% of those questioned, the largest proportion, blamed the violence that had occurred during the demonstrations on the chief executive CY Leung.[196]

The protests are causing strong differences of opinion in Hong Kong society, with a "yellow (pro-occupy) vs. blue (anti-occupy)" war being fought, and unfriending on social media, such as Facebook.[193] The media have reported conflict within peer groups over values or what positions may be orthodox, and rifts have formed between mentor–mentees over the extent to which the movement should go. Parents have rowed with their children over their attending protests.[194] Hong Kong people who oppose the Occupy protests do so for a number of different reasons. A significant part of the population, refugees from Communist China in the 1950s and 1960s, lived through the turmoil of the Hong Kong 1967 Leftist riots. Others feel that the protesters are too idealistic, and fear upsetting the PRC leadership and the possibility of another repeat of the crackdown that ended the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[195] However, the overwhelming reason is that disruption to the lives of ordinary citizens caused by roads blocked, traffic jams, school closures, and financial loss to businesses (including in particular those run by the Triads in Mong Kok).[195] According to some reports, the police actions on the protesters has resulted in a breakdown of citizens' trust in the previously respected police force. The police deny accusations that they failed to act diligently.[52] The media have reported on individuals who have quit their jobs, or students abroad who have rushed home to become a part of history, and one protester saw this as "the best and last opportunity for Hong Kong people's voices to be heard, as Beijing's influence grows increasingly stronger".[55] Police officers have been working 18-hour shifts to the detriment of their family lives.[196] Front line police officers, in addition to working long hours, being attacked and abused on the streets, are under unprecedented stress at home. Psychologists working with police officers in the field report that some feel humiliated as they may have been unfriended on Facebook, and family may blame them for their perceived roles in suppressing the protests.[197][198][199]

Effects on Hong Kong society

In an editorial, the South China Morning Post noted that, on 29 September, the air quality in all three of the occupied areas had markedly improved. The health risk posed by airborne pollutants was "low" – it is usually "high" – and there was a steep fall in the concentration of NO2. It said: "without a policy shift, after the demonstrations have ended, we will have to rely on our memories of the protest days for what clean vehicles on our roads mean for air quality".[192]

According to the World Bank, the protests were damaging Hong Kong's economy while China remained largely unaffected. Reuters reported that the protests had contributed to a $50 billion drop in share value on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.[179] Although the Hang Seng Index fell by 2.59% during the "Golden Week", it recovered and trading volume rose considerably.[190] Shanghai Daily published on 4 October estimated that the protests had cost Hong Kong HK$40 billion ($5.2 billion), with tourism and retail reportedly being hardest hit. However, tourist numbers for the "Golden Week" (beginning 1 October) were 4.83% higher than the previous year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. While substantial losses by retailer were predicted, some stores reported a marked increase in sales.[190] Triad gangs, which had reportedly suffered a 40% decline in revenues, were implicated in the attacks in Mong Kok, where some of the worst violence had occurred.[75][89][175][191]

Nursery, primary and secondary schools within the Central and Western catchment areas were suspended from 29 September onwards. Classes for 25,000 primary students and 30,000 secondary students resumed on 7 October.[4][187][188] Kindergartens and nursery schools resumed operations on 10 October, adding to the traffic burden.[189] The media reported that some shops and banks in the protest areas were shuttered.[181]

Surface traffic between Central and Admiralty, Causeway Bay, as well as in Mong Kok, was seriously affected by the blockades, with traffic jams stretching for miles on Hong Kong Island and across Victoria Harbour.[179][180] Major tailbacks were reported on Queensway, Gloucester Road and Connaught Road, which are feeder roads to the blockaded route in Admiralty.[45] Whilst in excess of 100 bus or tram routes have been suspended or re-routed,[181] queues for underground trains in the Admiralty district stretched out onto the street at times.[179] The MTR, the city's underground transport operator, has been a beneficiary.[182] The number of passenger trips recorded on two of its lines has increased by 20 percent.[183] Others have opted to walk instead of driving.[184] Taxi drivers have reported a fall in income as they have had to advise passengers to use the MTR when faced with jams, diversions or bloackaded roads.[185] Hong Kong Taxi Owners' Association claimed its members' incomes had declined by 30 percent since the protests started.[186]

Traffic being diverted off Connaught Road in Central on 30 September

Effects on business and transport

Impact

[53] A 2013 editorial in the [173] The HK police has stated that up to 200 gangsters from two major triads may have infiltrated the camps of Occupy Central supporters, although their exact motives are as yet unknown. A police officer explained the police could not arrest the triad gangsters there "if they do nothing more than singing songs for democracy".

The Newsnight investigation that "back-up was strangely unforthcoming" to scenes of violence. The South China Morning Post also reported claims that people from poor districts were being offered up to HK$800 per day, via WhatsApp messaging, to participate in anti-Occupy riots.[52][172]

Anti-Occupy protesters in Causeway Bay, 12 October

Triad involvement and protester recruitment allegations

On 3 December, the OCLP trio, along with 62 others including lawmaker Wu Chi-wai and Cardinal Joseph Zen, turned themselves into the police, bearing the legal consequences of civil disobedience. However, they were set free without being arrested or charged.[170] They also urged occupiers to leave and transform the movement in the community, citing concerns for their satety amidst the police's escalation of force in recent crackdowns. [171] Their call to leave was rejected by the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism.

On the morning of 1 December, there were the most vigorous clashes between police and protesters in Admiralty after the Federation of Students and Scholarism called upon the crowd to surround the Central Government Offices. The police used a hose to splash protesters for the first time. The entrance to the Admiralty Centre has also been blocked. Most of the violence occurred near Admiralty MTR station.[168] Also, Joshua Wong and two other Scholarism members started an indefinite hunger strike.[169]

December 2014

Amidst declining support for the occupation, bailiffs and police cleared the tents and barriers in the most volatile of the three Occupy sites, Mong Kok, on 25 and early 26 November. Suffragists poured into Mong Kok after the first day's clearance, and there was a stand-off between protesters and police the next day. Scuffles were reported, and pepper spray was used. Police detained 116 people during the clearance, including student leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum.[163] Joshua Wong, Lester Shum and some 30 of those arrested were bailed but subject to an exclusion zone centred around Mong Kok Station.[164][165] Mong Kok remained the centre of focus for several days after the clearance of the occupied area when members of the public angry about heavy-handed policing.[166][167] Fearing re-occupation, in excess of 4,000 police were deployed to the area.[166][167] Large crowds, ostensibly heeding a call from C. Y. Leung to return to the shops affected by the occupation, have appeared nightly in and around Sai Yeung Choi Street South (close to the former occupied site); hundreds of armed riot police charged demonstrators with shields, pepper spraying and wrestling a string of them to the ground. Protesters intent on "shopping" remained until dawn.[166][167]

On 21 November, up to 100 people gathered outside the British consulate accusing the former colonial power of failing to pressure China to grant free elections in the city and protect freedoms guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.[162]

In the early hours of 19 November, protesters broke into a side-entrance to the Legislative Council Complex, breaking glass panels with concrete tiles and metal barricades.[159] Legislator Fernando Cheung and other suffragists tried to stop the radical activists, but were pushed aside.[159][160] The break-in, which according to The Standard was instigated by Civic Passion,[161] was criticised by the three main activist groups of the protests, and legislators from both the pan-democracy and pro-Beijing camps.[159][160] Three police were injured and six men were arrested for criminal damage and assault.[160]

On the morning of 18 November, suffragists pre-emptively moved their tents and other affairs that were blocking access to Citic Tower, which was subject to a court injunction, avoiding confrontation with bailiffs and the police over the removal of barricades. [158]

[157] On 12 November, media tycoon

On 10 November, around 1,000 pro-democracy demonstrators, many wearing yellow ribbons and carrying yellow umbrellas, marched to the PRC Liaison Office in Sai Wan to protest the arrests of people expressing support for the protest.[150] The marchers included Alex Chow, who announced that the Federation of Students were writing to the 35 local delegates to the National People's Congress to enlist their help in setting up talks with Beijing.[151] On 30 October Chow and other student leaders had announced that they were considering plans to take their protest to the APEC summit to be held in Beijing on 10 and 11 November.[152] As observers had predicted, the student delegation led by Chow was prevented from travelling to China when they attempted to leave on 15 November.[153] Airline officials informed them that mainland authorities had revoked their Home Return Permits, effectively banning them from boarding the flight in order to speak to government officials in Beijing.[154]

The High Court extended injunctions on 10 November that had been granted to taxi, mini-bus and bus operators authorising the clearance of protest sites. On the following day, Carrie Lam told reporters that there would be no further dialogue with protesters. She warned that "the police will give full assistance, including making arrests where necessary" in the clearance of the sites, and advised the protesters to leave "voluntarily and peacefully".[148] However, the granting of the court order and the conditions attached to the execution attracted controversy as some lawyers and a top judge questioned why the order was granted based on an ex parte hearing, the urgency of the matter, and the use of the police when the order was for a civil complaint.[149]

The anti-Occupy group Alliance for Peace and Democracy had run a petition throughout the end of October to the start of November, and at the end of their campaign claimed to have collected over 1.8 million signatures demanding the return of streets occupied by the protesters and restoration of law and order. The group's previous signature collection has been criticised as "lack of credibility" by its opponents.[146][147]

A police cordon during the clearance of Mong Kok site, with yellow towers from which liquified tear gas was sprayed on protesters.

November 2014

On 29 October, after James Tien of the pro-Beijing Liberal Party urged Leung to consider resigning in a public interview on 24 October,[141] the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee convened to discuss Tien's removal from the body as a move to whip the pro-establishment camp into supporting Leung and the country.[142] Tien, a long-time critic of Leung, said that Leung's position was no longer tenable as Hong Kong people no longer trusted his administration, and that his hanging onto office would only exacerbate the divisions in society.[143] Tien stepped down from his position as the leader of the Liberal Party after the removal.[144] Lester Shum refused bail extension based on conditions imposed after his arrest on 26 September, and was released unconditionally by police.[145] That day was also the day of the Umbrella Ultra Marathon event.

On 28 October, the HKFS issued an open letter to the Chief Secretary Carrie Lam asking for a second round of talks. HKFS set out a prerequisite for the negotiation, that the government's report to the Chinese government must include a call for the retraction of the NPCSC's decision. The HKFS demanded direct talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang should the Hong Kong Government feel it cannot fulfil this and other terms.[139] The 30th day since the police fired tear gas was marked at 5.57 pm exactly, with 87 seconds of silence, one for each tear gas canister that was fired.[140]

On 25 October, a group of anti-Occupy supporters wearing blue ribbons gathered at Tsim Sha Tsui to show their support of the police. Four journalists from RTHK and TVB tried to interview them and were attacked.[134] The police had to escort the journalists out.[134] A female reporter for RTHK, a male reporter and two photographers for TVB were taken to hospital.[135] A group of about 10 men wearing face masks attacked suffragists in Mong Kok.[136] Six people were arrested for common assault.[136] Alex Chow Yong-kang said that citizens deserved a chance to express their views over the constitutional reform proposal and the National People's Congress Standing Committee's decision of August 31. He said that the protest would only end if the government offers a detailed timeline or roadmap to allow universal suffrage and withdrawal of the standing committee decision.[137][138]

On 23 October, a massive yellow banner which read "I want true universal suffrage" was hung on the Lion Rock, the iconic hill that overlooks the Kowloon Peninsula.[130] The location was chosen because Lion Rock represents Hong Kong's special identity[130][131] and is in contrast to Victoria Peak, which represents the elite.[132] The banner was removed the following day.[133]

A yellow banner which read "I want true universal suffrage" was hung on Lion Rock.

On 22 October about 200 demonstrators marched to Government House, the official residence of the Chief Executive, in protest at his statement to journalists on 20 October about the need to deny political rights to the poor in Hong Kong.[128] At Mong Kok, members of the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association and a coalition of truck drivers attempted to enforce the court injunction granted two days earlier to remove barricades and clear the street. They were accompanied by their lawyer, who read out the court order to the demonstrators. Fist fights broke out during the afternoon and evening.[129]

On 21 October, the government and the HKFS held the first round of talks in a televised open debate. HKFS secretary-general Alex Chow, vice secretary Lester Shum, general secretary Eason Chung, and standing members Nathan Law and Yvonne Leung met with HK government representatives Chief secretary Carrie Lam, secretary of justice Rimsky Yuen, undersecretary Raymond Tam, office director Edward Yau and undersecretary Lau Kong-wah. The discussion was moderated by Leonard Cheng, the president of Lingnan University.[122][123][124][125] During the talks, government representatives suggested the possibility of writing a new report on the students' concerns to supplement the government's last report on political reform to Beijing, but stressed that students' proposal of civil nomination falls outside of the framework imposed by the Basic Law and the NPCSC decision, which cannot be retracted.[126] The government described the talks as "candid and meaningful" in a press release, while the students expressed their disappointment at the lack of concrete results.[127]

On 20 October, a taxi drivers' union and the owner of CITIC Tower were granted a court injunction against the occupiers of sections of several roads.[117] In his first interview to international journalists since the start of the protests, CY Leung said that Hong Kong had been "lucky" that Beijing had not yet intervened in the protests, and repeated Chinese claims that "foreign forces" were involved.[118] He defended Beijing's stance on screening candidates. He said that open elections would result in pressure on candidates to create a welfare state, arguing that "If it's entirely a numbers game – numeric representation – then obviously you'd be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month [the median wage in HK]. You would end up with that kind of politics and policies."[119][120] A SCMP comment by columnist Alex Lo said of this interview: "Leung has set the gold standard on how not to do a media interview for generations of politicians to come."[121]

On Sunday, 19 October, police used pepper spray and riot gear to contain the protesters in Mong Kok. Martin Lee, who was at the scene, said that "triad elements" had initiated scuffles with police "for reasons best known to themselves".[115] The police had arrested 37 protesters that weekend; the government said that nearly 70 people had been injured. At night, two pro-democracy lawmakers, Fernando Cheung and Claudia Mo, appeared at Mong Kok to mediate between the suffragists and the police, leading to a lowering of tensions as the police and suffragists each stepped back and widened the buffer zone. No clashes were reported for the night.[116]

At 5am on 17 October, police cleared the barricades and tents at the Mong Kok site and opened the northbound side of Nathan Road to traffic for the first time in three weeks. In the early evening, at least 9000 protesters tried to retake the northbound lanes of the road. The police claimed that 15 officers sustained injuries. There were at least 26 arrests, including photojournalist Paula Bronstein.[112] Around midnight, the police retreated and the suffragists re-erected barricades across the road.[113][114]

Police forcing the protesters back southwards on Nathan Road in the evening

Local television channel TVB broadcast footage of Civic Party member Ken Tsang being assaulted by police. He was carried off with his hands tied behind his back; then, while one officer kept watch, a group of about six officers punched, kicked and stamped on him for about four minutes.[106][107][108][109] Journalists complained that they too had been assaulted.[110][111] The video provoked outrage; Amnesty International joined others in calling for the officers to be prosecuted. In response, Secretary for security Lai Tung-kwok said that "the officers involved will be temporarily removed from their current duties."[106][107]

Before midnight on 15 October, protesters stopped traffic on Lung Wo Road, the arterial road north of the Central Government Complex at Admiralty, and began erecting barricades. The police was unable to hold their cordon at Lung Wo Road Tunnel and had to retreat for reinforcement and organised redemption. Around 3 am, police began to clear the road using batons and pepper spray. By dawn, traffic on the road resumed and the protesters retreated into Tamar Park, while 45 arrests were made.

In the early morning of 14 October, police conducted a dawn raid to dismantle barricades in Yee Wo Street (Causeway Bay site), opening one lane to westbound traffic.[104] They also dismantled barricades at Queensway, Admiralty, and reopened it to traffic.[105]

On 13 October, hundreds of men, many wearing surgical masks and carrying crowbars and cutting tools, began removing barricades at various sites and attacking suffragists. Police made attempts to separate the groups. Suffragists repaired and reinforced some barricades using bamboo and concrete.[97][98][99] Protesters again claimed that the attacks were organised and involved triad groups.[100] Police made three arrests for assault and possession of weapons. Although police cautioned against reinforcing the existing obstacles or setting up new obstacles to enlarge the occupied area, suffragists later reinstated the barriers overnight.[97] Anti-occupy protesters began to besiege the headquarters of Next Media, publisher of Apple Daily. They accused the paper of biased reporting.[101] Masked men among the protesters prevented the loading of copies of Apple Daily as well as The New York Times onto delivery vans.[102] Apple Daily sought a court injunction and a High Court judge issued a temporary order to prevent any blocking of the entrance.[103] Five press unions made a statement condemning the harassment of journalists by anti-occupy protesters.[100]

Police dismantle roadblocks on Queensway

At 5.30 am on 12 October, police started an operation to remove unmanned barricades in Harcourt Road (Admiralty site) to "reduce the chance of traffic accidents".[91] In a pre-recorded TV interview[92] CY Leung declared that his resignation "would not solve anything".[93] He said the decision to use tear gas was made by the police without any political interference.[94] Several press organisations including the Hong Kong Journalists Association objected to the exclusion of other journalists, and said that Leung was deliberately avoiding questions about the issues surrounding the electoral framework.[95][96]

On 11 October, the student leaders issued an open letter to Xi Jinping saying that CY Leung's report to NPCSC disregarded public opinion and ignored "Hong Kong people's genuine wishes."[91]

On 10 October, in defiance of police warnings, thousands of protesters, many with tents, returned to the streets.[89] Over a hundred tents were pitched across the eight-lane Harcourt Road thoroughfare in Admiralty, alongside dozens of food and first-aid marquees. The ranks of protesters continued to swell on the 11th.[90]

On 9 October, the government cancelled the meeting with student leaders that had been scheduled for 10 October.[87] Carrie Lam, explained at a news conference that "We cannot accept the linking of illegal activities to whether or not to talk."[88] Alex Chow said "I feel like the government is saying that if there are fewer people on the streets, they can cancel the meeting. Students urge people who took part in the civil disobedience to go out on the streets again to occupy."[88] Pro-democracy legislators threatened to veto non-essential funding applications, potentially disrupting government operations, in support of the suffragists.[89]

On 5 October, leading establishment figures sympathetic to the liberal cause, including university heads and politicians, urged the suffragists to leave the streets for their own safety.[86] The rumoured clearance operation by the police did not occur.[16] At lunchtime the government offered to hold talks if the protesters cleared the roads. Later that night, the government agreed to guarantee the protesters' safety, and Alex Chow Yong-kang, leader of the Federation of Students (HKFS), announced that he had agreed to begin preparations for talks with Carrie Lam.[16]

Pan-democracy legislator [12][83] Violent attacks on journalists were strongly condemned by The Foreign Correspondents' Club, the Hong Kong Journalists' Association and local broadcaster RTHK.[84] Three former US consuls general to HK wrote a letter to the Chief Executive asking him to solve the disputes peacefully.[85]

In the afternoon, Chief Executive CY Leung insisted that government operations and schools affected by the occupation must resume on Monday. Former Democratic Party lawmaker Cheung Man-Kwong claimed the occupy campaign was in a "very dangerous situation," and urged them to "sit down and talk, in order to avoid tragedy".[80] The Federation of Students demanded the government explain the previous night's events and said they would continue their occupation of streets.[81] Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok denied accusations against the police, and explained that the reason for not using tear gas was due to the difference in geographical environment. Police claimed that protesters' barricades had prevented reinforcements from arriving on the scene.[82]

On 4 October, counter-protesters wearing blue ribbons marched in support of the police.[77] Patrick Ko of the Voice of Loving Hong Kong group accused the suffragists of having double standards, and said that if the police had enforced the law, protesters would have already been evicted.[78] The anti-Occupy group Caring Hong Kong Power staged their own rally, at which they announced their support for the use of fire-arms by police and the deployment of the People's Liberation Army.[79]

On 3 October, violence erupted in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay when groups of anti-Occupy Central activists including triad members and locals attacked suffragists while tearing down their tents and barricades.[11][12][70][71] A student suffered head injuries. Journalists were also attacked.[11][72][73] The Foreign Correspondents' Club accused the police of appearing to arrest alleged attackers but releasing them shortly after.[74] One legislator accused the government of orchestrating triads to clear the protest sites.[12] It was also reported that triads, as proprietors of many businesses in Mong Kok, had their own motivations to attack the protesters.[55] There were 20 arrests, and 18 people injured, including 6 police officers. Eight of the people arrested had triad backgrounds, but were released on bail.[12][75] Student leaders blamed the government for the attacks, and halted plans to hold talks with the government.[76]

On 2 October, activists lay siege to the Central Government Headquarters.[53][68] Shortly before midnight, the Hong Kong Government responded to an ultimatum demanding universal suffrage with unscreened nominees: Carrie Lam agreed to hold talks with student leaders about political reform at an unspecified date.[69]

Joshua Wong and several Scholarism members attended the National Day flag raising ceremony on 1 October at the Golden Bauhinia Square, having undertaken not to shout slogans or make any gestures during the flag raising. Instead, the students faced away from the flag to show their discontent. District councillor Paul Zimmerman opened a yellow umbrella in protest inside the reception after the ceremony.[64][65][66] Protesters set up a short-lived fourth occupation site at a section of Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.[67]

October 2014

On 29 September, police adopted a less aggressive approach, sometimes employing negotiators to urge protesters to leave. 89 protesters were arrested; there were 41 casualties, including 12 police.[13] Chief Secretary for Administration, Carrie Lam announced that the second round of public consultations on political reform, originally planned to be completed by the end of the year, would be postponed.[63]

[62] However, the SCMP reported that police were seen to charge the suffragists.[61][59] According to police spokesmen, officers exercised "maximum tolerance," and tear gas was used only after protesters refused to disperse and "violently charged".[60] At least 34 people were injured in that day's protests.[59][50] The media recalled that last time Hong Kong police had used tear gas was on Korean protesters during the [58] The police confirmed that they fired tear gas 87 times.

Later that morning, protests escalated as police blocked roads and bridges entering Tim Mei Avenue. Protest leaders urged citizens to come to Admiralty to encircle the police.[47] Tensions rose at the junction of Tim Mei Avenue and Harcourt Road after the police used pepper spray. As night fell, armed riot police advanced from Wan Chai towards Admiralty and unfurled a banner that stated "Warning, Tear Smoke". Seconds later, at around 6 pm, shots of tear gas were fired.[48][49][50] The heavy-handed policing, including the use of tear gas on peaceful protesters, inspired tens of thousands of citizens to join the protests in Admiralty that night.[51][52][53][13][54][55] Containment errors by the police – the closure of Tamar Park and Admiralty Station – caused a spill-over to other parts of the city, including Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, and universities.[53][56][57] 3,000 protesters occupied a road in Mong Kok and 1,000 went to Causeway Bay.[54] The total number of protesters on the streets swelled to 80,000,[57] at times considerably exceeding 100,000.[14][15]

Occupy Central with Love and Peace had been expected to start their occupation on 1 October, but this was accelerated to capitalise on the mass student presence.[45] At 1:40am on 28 September, Benny Tai, one of the founders of OCLP, announced its commencement at a rally near the Central Government Complex.[45][46]

Tear gas fired to disperse protesters outside government headquarters (28 September)

At 1:30 pm, the police carried out the second round of clearances, and 48 men and 13 women were arrested for forcible entry into government premises and unlawful assembly.[41] A man was also arrested for possession of an offensive weapon. A police spokesman declared the assembly outside the Central Government Complex at Tim Mei Avenue illegal, and advised citizens to avoid the area. The arrested demonstrators, including Legislative Councillor Leung Kwok-hung and some HKFS members, were released around 9 pm. However, HKFS representatives Alex Chow Yong-kang and Lester Shum were detained for 30 hours.[42] The police eventually cleared the assembly, arresting a total of 78 people.[43][44]

Having received a "notice of no objection" to the assembly on 26 September 2014 between 00:01 to 23:59, protesters gathered in Tim Mei Avenue near the eastern entrance of the Central Government Offices.[36] At around 22:30, up to 100 protesters led by Joshua Wong, the Convenor of Scholarism, went to "reclaim" the privatised Civic Square for the public by clambering over the fence of the square.[37] The police mobilised on Civic Square, surrounded protesters at the centre and prepared to physically remove the protesters overnight.[38][39] Protesters who chose to depart were allowed to do so; each of the remaining ones were carried away by four or more police officers. At 1:20am (of 27 September), the police used pepper spray on a crowd that had gathered near the Legislative Council, and some students were injured. By the following midnight, 13 people had been arrested including Joshua Wong, who was released after more than 40 hours upon being granted a writ of habeus corpus.[40]

Policemen surround the students protesting at Civic Square

September 2014

[35]

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