Ten thousand Chinese took part in the traditional New Year’s march in Hong Kong, in defense of autonomy and democratic freedoms which are both under constant threat from the Beijing authorities.
By Wilson Ribeiro – São Paulo, Brazil.
This year the main demand is against the permanent allocation of officers from mainland China to the customs of the West Kowloon train station, which is connected to Shenzen and Guangzhou through a high-speed train. The permanent presence of Chinese officials to implement Chinese mainland laws on Hong Kong soil would set a dangerous precedent.
Other demands are opposition to the shrinking legislative powers of LEGCO as well as the prosecution and arrest of umbrella and peasant movement activists fighting the expropriation of their land for construction sharks.
The march left Wan Chai and headed for the civic square, where government and legislative buildings are. This square was recently reopened to the public after three years, when umbrella movement youth occupied it for 79 days in 2014. The police assaulted the demonstrators in this place. Even so, some of them managed to stay in the square.
The march was called by the Civil Human Rights Front. In previous years the march had a peak in 2013 with 130 thousand participants. In 2016 there were 4 thousand and in 2017, 9,100.
2017 marks the 20 year anniversary of Hong Kong devolution from Britain to China. On July 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong bringing up a protest of thousands who were singing “Down with the Communist Party” in Victoria Park.
Other protests occur frequently during football matches when fans refuse to stand up or even they boo when the Chinese national anthem, which Hong Kong shares with mainland China, is played.