By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~
Pro-democracy protestors gathered in the streets of Hong Kong in response to what they claim to be a threat to the democratic process by the Chinese government.
Many of the protestors are students who claim that China is refusing to allow genuine democratic reform in Hong Kong. They accuse the government of solely allowing candidates who were investigated by Beijing to run in Hong Kong’s city elections for chief executive.
The elections were scheduled for 2017 and were going to be the city’s first democratic election. Instead, the candidates will be chosen by a panel.
Furthermore, the demonstrators claim that their universal suffrage is being threatened and that the Chinese government is encroaching on their autonomy.
Hong Kong has been a semi-autonomous region with mainland China since 1997 after being under British control for over 156 years. The two have existed as “one country, two systems” since 1997.
Throughout the week, many arrests have been made because of the protests. This peaked on Sept. 28 when police began releasing tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds.
The protests are becoming known as “umbrella protests” because the demonstrators are using umbrellas to block the police’s spray. The crowds have also returned wearing masks, goggles and plastic raincoats.
About60 people have been injured due to police involvement.
In response to the violence and protests, the Chinese government has blocked any media from reaching the mainland, including Instagram. Other media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are already blocked in Beijing.
The United States is watching the situation closely as the U.S. economy depends in part on the Chinese government. The Dow fell 170 points on Sept. 29 in response to the unrest, but recovered by the end of the day.