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Thousands join Hong Kong protest

Tens of thousands of people have voiced anger over Hong Kong's skyrocketing property prices and government policies at an annual march marking the former British colony's return to Chinese rule.

People blew whistles, beat drums and banged metal cups, and many waved flags calling for improved voting rights while others chanted "down, down with property tycoons" and called for chief executive Donald Tsang to step down.

Since the territory was handed back to China on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong has largely retained its Western-style civil liberties, including press freedom and the right to hold public protests.

But its people still cannot directly elect the city's chief executive or all legislative members.

One of the big themes of the march marking the 14th anniversary is the growing rich-poor divide in Hong Kong, where soaring property prices have left many homes unaffordable and forced out small shopkeepers.

Some protesters carried large signs depicting Mr Tsang and billionaire Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong's richest man whose business empire includes a major property developer, with devil horns and vampire fangs. They chanted slogans accusing the government and developers of colluding to establish a monopoly.

Citizens are also upset over a recent government proposal to scrap by-elections and instead fill vacant legislative seats based on previous results.

"The proposal to get rid of by-elections to fill vacancies in the Legislative Council is a crazy idea and insulting to the intelligence of the people of Hong Kong," said veteran democracy activist Martin Lee.

Hong Kong is the only place in China that enjoys a degree of Western-style adversarial parliamentary politics.


From Belfast Telegraph