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Hong Kong 1 July marches

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Hong Kong 1 July marches

The Hong Kong 1 July protests (Chinese: 七一遊行) is an annual protest rally originally led by the Civil Human Rights Front since the 1997 handover on the HKSAR establishment day. However, it was not until 2003 that the march drew large public attention by opposing the legislation of Basic Law Article 23. The 2003 protest, with 500,000 marchers, was the largest protest seen in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover.[1] Prior to this, only the pro-democracy protest on 21 May 1989 drew more people with 1.5 million marchers in Hong Kong sympathising with the participants of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[2] The introduction of Article 23 legislation was temporarily shelved because of the protest. Since then, 1 July marches have been held every year as a channel to demand democracy, universal suffrage, rights of minorities, protection of freedom of speech, and a variety of other political concerns.

1997 – 2002

After the Victoria Park to the Central Government Offices, with a turnout of 65,000.

The government attempted to pass Article 23 in Legislative Council, tabling the vote for 9 July 2003. The debate continued for months, with the Hong Kong Government refusing to any concessions. The bill eventually led to a series of 1 July marches.

2003 protest


The headline theme for the 2003 march was to oppose the anti-subversion Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23. Fear of the loss of freedom of speech along with other freedoms, as well as a general dissatisfaction against the Hong Kong Government prompted a mass protest of hundreds of thousands of people on 1 July 2003. The government attempted to pass Article 23 in Legislative Council, tabling the vote for 9 July 2003. The debate continued for months, with the Government refusing to make any concessions. Other issues include a number of blunders by the Tung Chee Hwa administration adding to people's frustrations, including the "Lexusgate" scandal involving the Financial Secretary Antony Leung and the government's incompetent handling of the SARS health crisis, all against the backdrop of the state of the economy.


The planners originally wanted all four football courts in Central to the Government's Central offices. Nonetheless, the large numbers meant that people were still starting the march as late as 10 pm.


After half-million people protested against the law, James Tien resigned from the Executive Council to vote against proposals for legislation as required under Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law. The Government then backed down on the proposal because it lacked the necessary votes to pass the legislation after losing the support of Tien's Liberal Party. Afterwards, Regina Ip and Antony Leung resigned, stating "personal reasons".

2004 protest

Hong Kongers dressed in white and walked out along Paterson Street

The headline theme for 1 July 2004 march was "Striving For Universal Suffrage in '07 & '08 for the chief executive and Legislature respectively (爭取07, 08普選)." As the National People's Congress Standing Committee attempted to modify the Basic Law on 6 April 2004 to deny direct elections for the chief executive in 2007 and the Legislative Council in 2008.[3][4] There was much criticism as to the slogan for the 2004 protest by some Beijing bureaucrats and pro-Beijing political parties. The phrase "Return power to the people" was particularly inflammatory, because it implied that power was taken away from the people, according to pro-Beijing parties. Some pro-democracy political leaders such as Lau Chin-shek had considered changing the phrase, but many criticised this move as it was seen to be satisfying Beijing. The organizers kept the phrase.

Hong Kongers walked out of their holiday (photo taken outside Hong Kong Central Library)

White was the police set the figure at 200,000. The figures were disputed by many, saying that the number could not have been over 200,000. Dr. P.S. Yip Senior Lecturer of the Department of Statistics & Actuarial Science of the University of Hong Kong, suggested that the maximum number of participants could only had been around 192,000. The general acceptance is that the crowd size is smaller than the 2003 crowd.

2005 protests

Protesters participated despite the bad weather

Following the 2004 protest, the next major event was Tung Chee-hwa's resignation in March 2005. Two protests were held in 2005 including the annual 1 July event and a separate December 2005 protest for democracy. The theme for the march was "Oppose government collusion, striving for universal suffrage (反對官商勾結,爭取全面普選)".[6] The July protest mostly build its momentum from the 2004 protest with emphasis that a high degree of autonomy is needed along with more democracy. The protest mostly stood up to the National People's Congress Standing Committee for trying to distort the Basic Law again. Further questions were raised regarding maximum working hours, minimum wage, increase of sexual violence, divide between the rich and poor.[6]

2006 protest

Anson Chan joins the march in 2006

The theme for the march in 2006 was "Creating Hopes for Universal Suffrage and Democracy With an Equal and Just Hong Kong (平等公義新香港,民主普選創希望)".

Not only did she openly support the implementation of universal suffrage in Hong Kong via the mass media, former Chief Secretary Anson Chan also called on Hong Kongers to express their desire by taking to the street. Some saw the move as Chan testing the water, paving way to the next chief executive election. Chan declined to comment until she formally announced that she has no interests in running for chief executive in September.

Like previous years, counter-protest parade was held in the morning while the protest organised by the Civil Human Rights Front started at 15:00 the same afternoon, marching from Victoria Park to Central Government Offices. 58,000 people took part in the protest this year, according to the organiser and the demonstration ended at about 19:00 peacefully.

2007 protest

A truck promoting 1 July marches

"Achieving Universal Suffrage, Improving Livelihood (爭取普選,改善民生)" was the theme for this year's demonstration. The organiser, Civil Human Rights Front, submitted an application for Notification of Public Procession to the Hong Kong Police (HKP) about twenty days before the march.[7] Prior to the start of the protest, Communist party leader Hu Jintao had already left Hong Kong via the Shenzhen bay port.[8]

The police insisted that the organizers wrapped up the demonstration before 18:30 to facilitate the fireworks display that would take place that night over physically challenged marchers would slack behind at the rally, and restricted the number of wheelchair participants to ten.

Civil Human Rights Front estimated the turn out to be 68,000 while the Hong Kong Police put the figure with those who left from [8]

Cardinal Joseph Zen joined the march for the first time. Former Chief Secretary, Anson Chan has also taken part.

2008 protest

Organizers said more than 40,000 people attended. Police put the starting figure at 13,000 when the march began. One of the issues include Chief executive Donald Tsang, who was under fire for the hiring of his 17 new highly paid appointees. Critics say they were handpicked allies brought in to boost his power base.[9] Protest turnout for the year was expected to be less, with no pressing issues to be resolved.[10]

2009 protest

Protesters oppose the arrest of Liu Xiaobo, founder of Charter 08

Pan-democrats had expected at least 100,000 to take the streets for the march.[11] Previously the Hong Kong Stadium.[11] This celebrated the 12th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China since 1997.[12] Xinhua News Agency also set up a website to commemorate the event.[13] The spectacle was matched with stadium performances as well as sports car displays on the streets. Other events include protests by the Alliance of Lehman Brothers victims and one by the handicapped protesting at discrimination.[11] chief executive Donald Tsang led senior government officials at the flag-raising ceremony at Wan Chai Golden Bauhinia Square. The police band followed by a sea parade and fly-past by the disciplined services.[11] The 2009 Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority forum followed on 14 July to talk about broadcast freedom.

2010 protest

Protesters wearing the "Guy Fawkes masks" from V for Vendetta for protest, a new trend in 2010

Previously the pan-democracy camp was united in their goal to fight for universal suffrage for the city of 7 million people in 2012 and nothing less.[14] After the consultation document for selecting the Chief exec and Legco politicians was passed in late June, there was no more universal suffrage. Instead, Beijing signed an alternative method to choose the CE and Legco politicians. A controversial graffiti incident even took place after the consultations.

The pan-democrat camp was split. Several hundred democratic party members faced verbal abuse throughout the march to the HK government headquarters for selling out to Beijing. Protesters hurling chants of "Shame on you" and "You betrayed Hong Kong people."[15] About 52,000 people took part in the protest.[16] A 2,000-person anniversary parade was organised by opposition pro-government groups.[14] Two weeks after the protests, many have questioned the state of the Democratic party and whether protests are of any use, especially since HK is not a place where citizens make decisions for themselves. Party chairman Albert Ho publicly responded "Even if you replaced Donald Tsang with another chief, you still have to deal with the People's Liberation Army, which is another type of power.[17]

2011 protest

Large number of police deployed at the scene
Protesters reach the Government Headquarters

The turnout for the 2011 protest is the highest since 2004. Organizers of the protest claimed a turnout of 218,000 people.[18] There were quite a number of issues. Just two days before the protest, the government led by Stephen Lam tried to pass a bill to no longer allow by-elections, this is to block any more events similar to the Five Constituencies referendum.[19][20] There were demands for Donald Tsang to step down, and bring in universal suffrage[21] to both the 2012 chief executive and Legco election.[22]

There were complaints with land hogging and control by real estate companies.[22] Unionists portrayed real estate tycoon Li Ka-shing as the devil.[18][23] Other groups carried coffins to represent the small homes poor people live in.[18] Hawkers complained about the high property rent that made it impossible to run their business.[24]

There were complaints of allowing more women from mainland China to give birth in Hong Kong.[18][22] There were also people against the introduction of "Patriotic education (國民教育)" in primary and high schools in the special administrative region.[25] Just a few days ago, 22 top HK schools rejected the plan, claiming they were against this type of "brain wash education".[26] The post-90s generation were quite against this.[27] During the protest about 228 protesters at Connaught Road were arrested.[28]

On 13 July People Power group led a three-day sit-in to protest against Stephen Lam, the blocking of by-elections and a number of issues. About 1000 people put on handcuffs and surrounded the Legco building 3 times to protest police actions from 1 July march. Hundreds of people also threw paper aeroplanes at the Legco building with political messages.[29][30]

2012 protests

2012 featured two major protests.

The first major protest on 1 July was the largest protest yet, with activists claiming 400,000 took part and police claiming 63,000 took part, both of which would have been the largest attendance at 1 July protests.[31] These protests coincided with the 15th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong attended by Hu Jintao and his swearing in of new chief executive CY Leung, who is alleged to be a closet member of the Communist Party of China,[32] and has conflicts of interests over his business interests and has had unauthorised building work at his home.[33]

In addition, the widening gap between the rich and poor, with 20% of the city living in poverty, an influx of mothers from Mainland China, continued denial of universal suffrage to all individuals and suppression of freedom of speech in the Mainland featured in the protests.[34]

According to the University of Hong Kong, only 34% of locals said they are proud of being Chinese citizens, the lowest figure since 2001.[35] Many protesters waved the British Hong Kong flag, showing resentment of the post-handover situation.[36]

Following the protests, a human rights group based in the city, the Chinese People's Rights Alliance claimed that disguised mainland Chinese security police followed and harassed them. It also alleged that several mainlander protesters have gone missing once returning home to Mainland China.[37]

The second major protest was against the Moral and National Education introduction as people saw it as a brainwashing program.

2013 protests

2013 featured two major protests.

The first major protest occurred on 1 January 2013, where up to 130,000 people have held rival marches in Hong Kong both for and against the city's chief executive [38]

The second major protest occurred on 1 July, protesting for universal suffrage and other major issues. The Victoria Park and 66,000 participated at its peak. The University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme estimated 93,000 took part.[39]

2014 protests

Before the protests, a white paper by the Chinese government proclaimed that Hong Kong does not enjoy full autonomy, and that Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy was granted by the Chinese government. The departure in wording from emphasizing the high degree of autonomy guaranteed by the Hong Kong Basic Law sparked controversy that the Chinese government was suggesting it could intervene in Hong Kong affairs, in effect redefining One Country, Two Systems. The Hong Kong government earlier promised to residents that they will be able to vote for their new chief executive in the upcoming 2017 election, but it has been feared that the final process will favour candidates approved by Beijing.

On 1 July 2014, organizers said over 500,000 protesters marched along the streets of Hong Kong, while city officials estimated 100,000. A police force of around 5000 officers was present during the protest, and over 500 demonstrators were arrested for illegal assembly during a sit-in protest that followed on 2 July and disrupting traffic in Chater Road.[40][41][42]

See also


  • Wong Wai-kwok, Benson People’s Power in Power? Hong Kong’s political development and the July rally, Vol. 2, No. 1, July 2003., Austrian Association of East Asian Studies


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  2. ^ Williams, Louise. Rich, Roland. [2000] (2000). Losing Control: Freedom of the Press in Asia. Asia Pacific Press. ISBN 0-7315-3626-6.
  3. ^ "" 觀察入薇 – 讓七一成為香港風土習俗. Retrieved on 28 December 2007.
  4. ^ Carroll, John M. [2007] (2007). A Concise History of Hong Kong. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-3422-7.
  5. ^ Zonaeuropa. "" The 2004 HK 1 July March Crowd Estimates. Retrieved on 28 December 2007.
  6. ^ a b "" 1 July protest 2005. From Civil Human Rights Front. 19 May 2005. Retrieved on 28 December 2007.
  7. ^ "" Declaration of 1 July Deomonstration 2007, Pursue direct election, Improve People's livelihood. Retrieved on 26 May 2007.
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  9. ^ Newsdaily. "Newsdaily." Thousands march for greater democracy in HK. Retrieved on 1 July 2008.
  10. ^ "" Hong Kong marks 11th handover anniversary as thousands expected to march for democracy. Retrieved on 1 July 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e The Standard HK. ""100,000 turnout forecast for July 1 demo". The Standard, Retrieved on 12 July 2009.
  12. ^ "" 團結自強慶回歸 4萬港人大巡遊 . Retrieved on 12 July 2009.
  13. ^ "" 香港回歸12週年. Retrieved on 12 July 2009.
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  15. ^ "" Hong Kong Democrats under siege at annual march. Retrieved on 5 July 2010.
  16. ^ "" Hong kongers take to the streets for democracy on 1 July. Retrieved on 5 July 2010.
  17. ^ "" 何俊仁希望量變帶來質變. Retrieved on 11 July 2010.
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  19. ^ "Tsang enters fray on polls plan". The Standard. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  20. ^ Lam confident of new by-elections tweak. The Standard. Retrieved on 2 July 2011.
  21. ^ "Hong Kong rallies for democracy". Digital Journal. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c "新報網站". Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  23. ^ 有樓無樓 齊喊反地產霸權. Retrieved on 2 July 2011.
  24. ^ "領匯苛政趕絕公屋商販 – 新浪網 – 新聞". Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  25. ^ 近22萬人參加七一遊行 – 新浪網 – 新聞. Retrieved on 2 July 2011.
  26. ^ 反德育、國民教育?instance=hk_bull
  27. ^ 逾百90後高喊「不要洗腦」 – 新浪網 – 新聞. Retrieved on 2 July 2011.
  28. ^ 港大遊行後 警凌晨清場拘逾200人 | 即時新聞 | 全球觀察 | 聯合新聞網. Retrieved on 2 July 2011.
  29. ^ South China morning post. 16 July 2011. Tsang takes a swipe at negativity.
  30. ^ South China morning post. 12 July 2011. People Power plan to surround Legco.
  31. ^ TVB Pearl News 1 July 2012
  32. ^ "Hong Kong sizes up next leader CY Leung's loyalties", BBC News, 4 April 2012.
  33. ^ "Protests disrupt official Chinese visit to Hong Kong – France". France 24. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  34. ^ [1]
  35. ^ "港大民研發放最新香港市民身份認同調查結果 – 港大民研 HKUPOP". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  36. ^ "Anger Grows in Hong Kong Over China, New Leader". NPR. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  37. ^ Mark McDonald (26 July 2012) "China Sends Two to Labor Camp for Marching in Hong Kong". New York Times
  38. ^ "Tens of thousands march in rival protests over Hong Kong's leader (PHOTOS)". RT. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  39. ^ Gary Cheung and Emily Tsang. "Beijing urged to listen to message of July 1 marchers | South China Morning Post". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ Hong Kong police arrest democracy protesters at sit-in
  42. ^ H.K. Police Clear Protesters After Decade's Biggest Rally

External links

  • Website of Civil Human Rights Front
  • Photos of the 2013 July 1st march
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