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Protests mark anniversary of Chinese rule

Discontent focuses on incoming Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying

Protests mark anniversary of Chinese rule
Organisers say 400,000 people demonstrated reporter, Hong Kong
Hong Kong

July 2, 2012

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Thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday to protest everything from corruption in Hong Kong to human rights violations on the mainland as the territory marked 15 years of Chinese rule. Organizers, the Civil Human Rights Front, estimated that 400,000 people took part which would have made it the biggest July 1 demonstration since 2004 as protesters focused much of their discontent on the incoming Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao. Police said only 63,000 people participated, while the University of Hong Kong put the number at as many as 112,000 people, according to the South China Morning Post. One reporter at the local Apple Daily said he was detained for about 15 minutes on Saturday for disrupting order after shouting a question on the Tiananmen Square massacre directly at Hu. Others called for a new investigation into the death last month of blind activist Li Wangyang and greater democratic freedoms in Hong Kong. “If we do not defend our rights, our descendants may lose the freedom to assemble and protest that we now enjoy,” said a 60-year-old protester, adding that he wanted to show China’s visiting president how people in Hong Kong felt. Self-made millionaire Leung was the main target, however, following a difficult anointment that has seen Hong Kong’s third chief executive suffer allegations of expanding his private residence without the necessary approval. “I don’t believe the new administration,” said protester Lee Chi-kwan. “Leung lied about the illegal structures found in his home. He lied even before he took office.” Before the rally started, about 1,000 Catholics and Protestants gathered together to pray for Hong Kong. “We pray to God for a good ruling party,” said Franciscan Father Chan Moon-hung in a reference to the Chinese Communist Party. “We believe an anti-Christ party is not one that God wants.” Related reports Press freedom dives in Hong Kong: survey Bidding farewell to executive excess Discontent undermines handover anniversary

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