Skip to main content

Protests as Chinese president visits Hong Kong for handoff anniversary

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:08 AM EDT, Sun July 1, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Anger has mounted over death of Li Wangyang, a high-profile Chinese dissident
  • President Hu Jintao is in the territory for a three-day visit
  • However, some Hong Kong residents are concerned about Beijing's intentions
  • He will mark the handover's anniversary but also be the focus of protests

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Hong Kong protesters took to the streets Sunday as Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the former British colony to mark the 15th anniversary of its return to Beijing rule.

Hu also attended the inauguration of the Hong Kong chief executive amid growing discontent toward Beijing over its human rights records, among others.

Crowds shouted various chants during the ceremony, including demands for an end to corruption and freedom for political prisoners.

Small planes flew overhead with flags of China and Hong Kong as defiant protesters rallied on streets with police and giant barricades

Protesters' anger has mounted over last month's death of Li Wangyang, a high-profile dissident who spent decades in prison for his support of the Tiananmen Square student rallies in 1989.

Hong Kong has prospered since its last British governor, Chris Patten, bade the territory a tearful farewell on July 1, 1997.

Hong Kong 15 years later
Open Mic: Hong Kong's identity
China and Hong Kong: Who needs whom?
Hu marks Hong Kong handover

The Chinese territory has benefited from its position as a financial and commercial gateway, riding the mainland's spectacular economic boom of the past two decades.

But the economic rewards are mixed with unease about Beijing's intentions for Hong Kong in the long term, including concerns about possible threats to freedom of speech and the rule of law.

Some Hong Kong residents have expressed reservations about the effect mainland Chinese residents have on property prices and public services in the city.

Nonetheless, Hong Kong has its own borders and immigration control even with China. It has its own currency, its own police force and system of law courts. It also enjoys a freedom of expression and demonstration to a degree unheard on the mainland.

The Chinese president is scheduled to attend a string of other events over the next three days, including a fireworks display and a parachute jump by members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Hu also attended the inauguration of chief executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, the Beijing-backed leader who took office Sunday.

In addition to human rights issues and Li's death, protesters have demanded greater democracy and called for Beijing to stop intervening in local affairs.

Li was found hanging in his hospital room in Hunan province on June 6. Local authorities said he had committed suicide, but friends of the deaf and blind labor rights activist have denied the claim.

Hong Kong government officials have also questioned whether Li committed suicide.

CNN's Andrew Stevens, Jethro Mullen, Tim Schwarz and Hilary Whiteman contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:13 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
updated 5:08 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
updated 12:52 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
updated 3:42 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
updated 2:31 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 2:56 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
updated 4:36 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
updated 11:34 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
ADVERTISEMENT