Two decades after handover, scant love for China among Hong Kong youth

Two decades after handover, scant love for China among Hong Kong youth

Xi's visit is expected to be accompanied by a massive security operation, with parts of the city put into lockdown to ensure protesters can not get to the Chinese leader.

Hong Kong student pro-democracy campaigner Joshua Wong was detained along with three other activists by police on Wednesday after an anti-China protest ahead of a visit by President Xi Jinping.

"One problem the Hong Kong government has that dates back to soon after handover is that on the one hand they want to show Hong Kong is cosmopolitan and global and the "merging of east and west" and "Asia's World City" - but they also want to show that it is a good patriotic city of China - and the two are not necessarily compatible".

The Umbrella Movement was the name given to mass rallies in 2014 calling for democratic reforms.

"It's not the time for celebration, it's time for demonstration", said Wong. July 1 marks 20 years since the handover.

Hong Kong is ruled under a "one country, two systems" deal, enshrined in the handover agreement, which allows it rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech and an independent judiciary.

Rule of law is seen as key to its role as a gateway between China and the rest of the world. According to an opinion poll conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong a year ago, two in five Hong Kongers want to live overseas - up from one in five in 2014 - although only 10% of those who said they wanted to leave had put such a plan into action.

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Last month, Hong Kong's last British governor Chris Patten said there had been "a steady tightening of grip on Hong Kong's windpipe" and its autonomy. The city's pro-democracy lawmakers vetoed the package, which critics called "fake democracy".

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Lam has pledged to heal rifts but is already being painted by critics as a China stooge.

But this hasn't drowned out headlines from Hong Kong.

The protesters also chanted: "We are Hong Kong people!"

Lam was chosen by a Beijing-friendly electoral committee, as were her predecessors.

Campaigners say their calls for the promised reforms have now been sidelined.

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The umbrella became a symbol of the 2014 movement after protesters used them to protect themselves against police pepper spray.

From the latter part of the nineteenth century, Hong Kong grew as an Asian financial center, becoming a major worldwide trading hub from the 1950s onwards, acting as a regional headquarters for major banking and corporate firms, serving as a gateway to China.

Discontent is fuelled by a yawning wealth gap and lack of affordable housing as mainland investors drive up prices. "There must be room for reflection on how to handle the Hong Kong issue properly because people in both Hong Kong and the mainland are Chinese after all". That is a problem, since this a primarily ethnically Chinese, ruthlessly pragmatic city - people who one would expect to be sympathetic. Some even asserted that Hong Kong would prove to be a "Trojan Horse" through which the Chinese mainland would come to experience and appreciate the joys of political liberalism.

"Many people believe Hong Kong is under the strict supervision of the Chinese government".

"It is a very elegant way to resolve a hard question", said Powell, one of the architects of the Joint Declaration which decided the fate of the ex-British colony.

Retired bank worker Sarah Ng says she felt life was "fairer" before.

In 2015, Hu Baolin, chairman of the Hong Kong Greater China Council, initiated the class themed "Loving our country, seeking for history" by inviting veterans of Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression to share their stories of fighting against Japanese invaders.

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