Hong Kong set for final face off

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing/Hong Kong
  • Updated: Oct 01, 2014 01:07 IST

Beijing on Tuesday continued to call “umbrella revolution” in Hong Kong as illegal and covered reports on the mass agitation in the country’s financial hub in a web of censorship.

State media carried few reports on protests or the scale of the agitation; English newspapers carried opinion pieces criticising the events that have erupted in the financial hub, designated as a “special administrative zone” (SAR) by Beijing.

Visuals from Hong Kong telecast live on CNN and BBC were repeatedly blocked on Tuesday morning. The news bulletins resumed soon after these two channels would begin reporting other news.

Words related to the protests were blacked out from the Internet on the Mainland; some reports and users said the popular photo loading application Instagram had also being blocked.

But according to a Reuters report, the censors had not blocked the phrase “umbrella revolution” till Tuesday.

“Chinese Internet users were still able to post under the hashtag "Umbrella Revolution" in Chinese and English on Sina Weibo, China's popular Twitter-like microblogging service, on Monday and Tuesday,” the report said.

Umbrellas, a rather modest household item, have become the symbol of the agitation after protesters used them as shield against tear gas shells and pepper spray lobbed and fired at them by the riot police on Sunday.

Foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said Tuesday Beijing was in full support of the HK government and was confident issue of the “illegal” protests and activities could be resolved.

She warned foreign government from interfering in China’s internal affairs and influencing events in Hong Kong.

Rights groups, meanwhile, said that Beijing had the opportunity to usher in true stability in Hong Kong.

“They (the people of Hong Kong) are rejecting the August 31, 2014 decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on the “selection” of the Chief Executive, which requires candidates to be endorsed by a majority of a Beijing-controlled nominating committee,” the Hong Kong-based Human Rights in China said in a statement.

The statement added: “Leaders in Beijing now face a historic test and a historic opportunity to advance genuine social stability and democracy in Hong Kong. Will they make the same tragic mistake again or demonstrate true leadership by listening to the voices of the people?”

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