Hong Kong protests for democracy
Hong Kong protests for democracy Reuters

The protests in Hong Kong against China's steps to undermine local democracy are expected to strengthen on Wednesday for China's National Day, in which hundreds of thousands in the metropolis of seven million will continue their occupation of the business district.

Hong Kong's outrage follows a controversial decision by Beijing only to allow candidates for Hong Kong's chief executive that are approved by a committee of 1,200 loyalists to the Chinese government, a change from the previous "one nation, two systems" approach that maintained an independent governing system in the international business capital.

The port city was transferred from British to Chinese control in 1997, and up through the current Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung has chosen its own chief executive, a local position similar to mayor that leads Hong Kong's government.

Protesters are demanding China reverse the decision that infringes their democratic rights, and further call for Leung to step down due to his inability to defend their vote.

But China has refused to concede while condemning the protests, as has Beijing loyalist Leung who said "this illegal protest will not force the central government to go back on its decision."

Police have tried to break up the protests by force - on Sunday, officers threw 87 tear gas canisters at protesters after they refused to disperse. China has also been actively censoring the events, blocking Instagram access for Hong Kong after images surfaced of the protests, and not reporting on what's happening in the city.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong protesters have continued on with their struggle while avoiding clashes with the police.

Student pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old who was arrested last Friday and released Sunday, led students in silently turning their backs and crossing their arms at the raising of the Chinese flag for National Day at Golden Bauhinia Square.

"We crossed our arms because we want to express our dissatisfaction toward the government, to reflect our mistrust towards the central Chinese government, and to object to the National People's Congress decision," Wong told CNN.

Another protest organizer Chan Kin-man complained "all the candidates will be pre-selected by Beijing... it's more or less like North Korea. But we are an international city. We have a younger generation who have been taught about civil rights, political rights. And we want our words to be heard."

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