World

Anti-Beijing protesters march in Hong Kong

HONG KONG Angry protesters yesterday marched through Hong Kong against what they described as suppression by Beijing, days after the Chinese authorities ruled that part of a city rail station would come under mainland law.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has been ruled under a "one country, two systems" deal since Britain returned it to China in 1997 and enjoys rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech and an independent judiciary.

But a string of recent incidents have fuelled concern over the erosion of its autonomy and rule of law, including the jailing of prominent pro-democracy activists.

Campaigner Joshua Wong, who joined thousands of protesters at the march, said suppression by China's Communist Party government had worsened last year.

ON BAIL

Mr Wong, 21, was jailed in August over his role in the Umbrella Movement mass pro-democracy protests of 2014 and is on bail pending an appeal against his six-month sentence.

"In 2018, I hope that every Hong Konger can become an avenger and win back the core values eroded by Beijing," Mr Wong told AFP.

Many of the protesters were angry at the so-called "co-location" agreement, which would bring part of a new rail terminus in the heart of Hong Kong under mainland law.

The high-speed link to the sprawling southern mainland cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou is due to open this year, with plans for a joint immigration checkpoint that would see mainland police and other officials based in the Hong Kong terminus.

The station is on Hong Kong's famous harbourfront in Kowloon. - AFP

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