Socialist Worker

Hong Kong protests defy government ultimatum

by Sally Kincaid
Issue No. 2424

Protesters in Hong Kong

Protesters in Hong Kong (Pic: James jJ8246 on Flickr)

Protesters continued to occupy Hong Kong’s central district in defiance of an ultimatum, but with much smaller numbers as Socialist Worker went to press. 

They are demanding the right to vote for political representatives other than those who are selected and approved by the Chinese authorities. 

Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying had threatened that police would take “all actions necessary” to ensure government offices and schools would reopen.

The government closed schools across three districts due to the protests.

But it said that secondary schools would reopen this Monday, but not primary schools and kindergartens.

The police later said that all classes would resume, but warned there could be traffic disruptions.

Leung first offered talks on Thursday of last week. But students leaders called them off after pro-government thugs assaulted protesters occupying the Mong Kok and Causeway Bay areas on Friday of last week. 

The attackers, mostly male and middle aged, physically attacked occupiers and tore down their makeshift tents. 

While the attackers tried to remove barricades, protesters kept putting them back up and formed human chains to protect the Occupy movement.

Many ordinary people have attended the protests daily in solidarity with the students, particularly after the police used tear gas. 

International solidarity demonstrations took place in 26 cites around the world, including 3,000 in London, on Wednesday of last week.

Messages of support from around the world are projected to occupiers.

The largest rally so far took place last Saturday night.  

One teacher told the rally that she hadn’t taught any classes recently as her students were part of the boycott. 

She talked about the two Hong Kongs she had seen in the last few days.


The beautiful Hong Kong where poems are written in different languages. 

And the ugly Hong Kong witnessed by the attacks on Friday.

The initial reaction of the Chinese government was to block all information on social media. 

Online censorship is a major industry is China, with two million people employed to block “sensitive words”. By Wednesday umbrella was on the ever-growing list and the software app Instagram had been closed down completely.

Anyone in mainland China who used social media to post messages of support has been arrested.  

The China Daily, the official paper of the Chinese state, finally had to admit there was unrest in Hong Kong last week, despite the social media censorship and media blackout. 

It issued a statement on Thursday of last week condemning the Occupy movement. 

But journalists interviewing Chinese residents who were visiting Hong Kong found mixed reactions.

Many said the current demonstrations have the power to raise democratic demands back in the mainland.

This is exactly what the Chinese government desperately wants to prevent.

But the key to winning the demands for more democracy is if workers take action and use their power to force the Chinese government to back down.


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