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ASIA > Mass demo as Hong Kong marks 15 years under China

HONG KONG - Agence France-Presse

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Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong yesterday, adamant there was nothing to cheer as the former British colony marked 15 years of Chinese rule and swore in a new leader.

The rally came after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, a millionaire property consultant seen as close to China’s communist rulers, took his oath before Chinese President Hu Jintao, whose speech was interrupted by a demonstrator. Hu’s visit and Leung’s inauguration have become focal points for growing discontent towards Beijing, which has surged to a new post-handover high amid soaring housing costs, limited democracy and perceived meddling by China.

The marchers, young and old, mostly clad in the mourning colors of black and white, and ranging from engineers to maids, mustered in a large park, and many were still gathered waiting to set off an hour after the vanguard left.

Beijing has pledged that Hong Kong could elect its own leader in 2017 and all legislators by 2020 at the earliest, but no road map has been laid out.

July/02/2012

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