tv Asia Insight PBS July 30, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
hong kong residents are becoming increasingly concerned about china's handling of the city's autonomy. one has called on people to take over parts of hong kong to localized residents feelings toward the chinese government. the same academic is also inspiring students to also take action. other citizens are voicing their opposition to these movements. in this episode of "asia
insight" we follow the ongoing struggle of residents in their 17th year since returning to chinese rule. hong kong, one of asia's main business hubs and a leading international financial center. as it's economy increasingly merges with main land china following its hand over from british rule, beijing's influence over the city continues to grow. in the tourism sector alone, 75% of visitors were from mainland china last year. that amounts to more than 40
million people. without mainland china the economy probably wouldn't be able to function. recently, several incidents have installed fear in the hearts of hong kong residents. books criticizing the government and politicians are openly displayed and sold in bookstores. confirmation of the city's guaranteed freedom of speech. despite these civil liberties a publisher preparing to release a book criticizing chinese president was arrested on the mainland. he was sentenced to ten years in prison. to add to the distress the chief editor of the newspaper was assaulted earlier this year. the editor was attacked from behind and repeatedly stabbed in the back, legs and other parts
of the body as he was getting out of his car at 10:00 in the morning. he somehow survived but sustained injuries that doctors say could take years to completely heal. kevin lau has been known for publishing reports that criticized politicians or exposed illegal politicians. it's rumored that triad gang members were responsible for his attack. in response to such incidents, the hong kong journalist association has staged demonstrations twice for the right to freedom of the press. chairperson sham yee lan has been a journalist for over 30 years.
level of autonomy was not its own by granted by the chinese government. it emphasized beijing's authority over hong kong more than ever before. when britain returned hong kong to mainland china 17 years ago they guaranteed the city a high level of autonomy and also promised democratic elections in the future. it marked the beginning of the one country two systems policy. a constitutional principal in which socialism and capitalism co-exist. in protest of beijing's recent statement some citizens stand on the white paper in silence in front of the high court.
one student organization supports his ideas and is taking direct action. the group is called scholarism and consists of around 600 secondary school students under the age of 18. they rely on donations from public funding from their activities and claim to have raised more than 45,000 u.s. dollars at just one event. members go online to send out notices of the group's activities and also recruit
one woman has camped out at the legislative council and has gone as far as staging a hunger strike. she serves as a chairperson of a parent-teacher association and claims that scholarism students are being manipulated by adults. she also wants the police to crack down on the group. pro-beijing supporters and the democracy advocates have completely opposing perspectives
of china. there are also those who are indifferent to the issue. ken wong is a hong kong resident whose business is based in shanghai. he's been manufacturing and selling gold jewelry there for the past ten years. he has little interest in politics and says he cannot relate to either the pro-beijing supporters or pro-democracy advocates.
it's ten days before the anniversary of hong kong's return to china rule. associate professor benny was at the university of hong kong. he's laumpnched a polling site r a civil referendum. he's calling on citizens to consider other ongs for choosing who they feel should be the chief executive of hong kong. currently only those approved by the mainland government can run
for office. there's been several new election methods. their suggestions all have one thing in common. they focus on the desires of hong kong residents rather than the chinese in other words, each proposal is calling for a democratic election process. benny wants to see how many people who support democratization and approves proposals. he believes more people voting will increase the pressure on .
media. according to the organizers more than 780,000 people voted. the number far surpassed expectations. benny decided to present the referendum results to the government. in the meantime telling all relevant organizations to postpone the occupation central in wait of their response. >> i think hong kong people has clearly make our view to the government. >> the following day scholarism and other university organizations joined hands and held an emergency media conference at a local university. students announced that thatly go ahead with their plans to occupy central on july 1st, the 17th anniversary of hong kong's
marking the city's 17th year of return to chinese rule dawns. at 8:00 a.m. a ceremony organized by the hong kong government begins at a square on the water front. representatives of the chinese government were invited and reaffirmed the strengthening of mutual ties with hong kong. around noon pro-democracy citizens began pouring out onto
the streets. this demonstration held every july 1st began the same year of the hand over. the five kilometer walk starts from victoria park, goes through the main shopping area and ends in central. according to organizers more than hal mil people participated this year making it the largest protest in the past ten years. members of scholarism were in the middle of the march and making themselves heard.
the route usually takes less than an hour to complete but this year demonstrators marched for more than five hours. at around 9:00 p.m. after workers have already left their offices, scholarism members finally reach central. instead of ending the protest, more than 2,000 people, mostly youngsters, decide to stage a sit-in.
meanwhile, at 4:00 a.m., tensions begin rising in central. protesters and police have reached a standoff. in some areas police begin dragging away students who formed human chains. by 7:00 a.m., be financial district begins functioning again after all the demonstrators have left or taken away, many by force. in the end, according to police, 511 people, mainly students, were arrested. scholarism members immediately hear about the situation. the news makes them feel anxious. they receive realtime messages
joshua remains as resolute as ever and believes that change will eventually come. as beijing continues to strengthen its influence over hong kong, citizens eagerly await the 2017 chief executive election. it will mark 20 years since the handover and many hope this time it will be a democratic process.
>> international investigators have tried again to get to the wreckage of malation airline fliegts. representatives of ukraine, russia and the organization for security and cooperation in europe will need to try the airliner was hit by a missile two weeks ago. all 298 people on bord were killed. the plane crashed in an