Hundreds of pro-China supporters in Hong Kong sang the Chinese national anthem and waved red flags to commemorate China's 70th national anniversary to counter anti-government pro-democratic protests on September 29 that have questioned Beijing's rule. The rally which supported Beijing just came after another day of violence in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory that sparked widespread violence between the pro-China and pro-democratic protestors. It could ultimately result in embarrassing Chinese President Xi Jinping as his ruling Communist Party marks its 70th year in power on Tuesday. The pro-democracy protestors have called for a major rally to coincide with the celebrations in Beijing.
A clash between the police and the protestors occurred on Saturday which forced the police to fire tear gas and water cannons after the protestors pelted bricks and firebombs at government buildings followed by a huge rally in the downtown Hong Kong. The months-long protests and violence that began in June by the anti-government pro-democratic protestors has widely developed into a full-fledged anti-China movement for democratic reforms. The protestors have decided to march on Tuesday despite a police ban. Many protestors have said that they will wear mourning black in a direct challenge to the authority of the Communist Party, with posters calling for Oct. 1 to be marked as “A Day of Grief.” The protestors also planned to unite for an anti-totalitarianism rally on later Sunday. The similar events are being organized by 60 cities all over the world including the US, UK, Australia, and Taiwan. The government of Hong Kong has restricted the National Day celebrations in the city canceling an annual firework display and moving a reception indoor. For security reasons, the government said on Sunday that Chief Executive Carrie Lam will head a delegation of over 240 people to Beijing on Monday to participate in the festivities. She will be represented by Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung in her absence and return to the city on Tuesday evening.
Lam addressed the pro-democratic protestors on Thursday in a bid to deescalate tensions but failed to motivate protestors who vowed to meet their demands which includes electoral reforms and a direct investigation into police for using excessive force to disperse the crowd. Scores of people wearing red and carrying Chinese flags and posters gathered at a waterfront cultural center in the city on Sunday and chanted “I am a citizen of China.” They sang the national anthem of China and chanted happy birthday to China. The pro-China supporters have gathered in several malls of the city and in the streets in recent weeks to counter the pro-democracy protesters. Many people view the extradition bill as wiping out Hong Kong's autonomy under the one country two systems policy when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997. Former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa was recognized for devoting himself to the implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy on Sunday. Tung was felicitated with national medals and honors from the Chinese President Xi for his contributions to the country.
(With inputs from AP)