Thursday 22 February 2018

Protesters march for change in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy protesters, with Hong Kong colonial flags, chant slogans during a protest to demand universal suffrage and urge Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down in Hong Kong
Pro-democracy protesters, with Hong Kong colonial flags, chant slogans during a protest to demand universal suffrage and urge Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down in Hong Kong

Fion Li and Simon Lee

TENS of thousands of people defied heavy rain in Hong Kong yesterday to march on the 16th anniversary of the city's handover to China to demand the government address a widening wealth gap and introduce broader democracy.

About 66,000 protesters were participating, according to the police, but march organisers said there were 430,000 people. The city is due to elect its next leader, known as the chief executive, by popular vote in 2017.

"He has promised a lot but it is all empty talk," said Chan Wing (54), a taxi driver, referring to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. "The Hong Kong government is controlled by Beijing. Without true universal suffrage, there won't be a chance for Hong Kong people to have a say in our own future."

The annual July 1 protest serves as an indicator of how the city's 7.2 million people regard the leaders in Beijing.

The city's home prices, the world's highest according to Savills Plc, have fallen 2pc from a historic high in March, while transactions have been near the lowest level since 2008. This came as Mr Leung, who took over as chief executive in July last year, levied extra taxes on non-resident home buyers, doubled the sales tax on transactions and made repeated pledges to increase land supply. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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