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Asia Minute: Competing Rallies Planned for Hong Kong Anniversary Observance

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

It’s still a little more than a month away, but a party planned in East Asia is already sparking controversy. The occasion is the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s political return to China. And there are some competing plans. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


July 1st is a big day in Hong Kong.

That’s true each year because it marks the anniversary of the British hand over of the city back to China.

It’s especially true this year because it will be the 20th anniversary of the handover—and you might say there are competing events.

Every year, pro-democracy activists gather on July 1st. Organizers with the Civil Human Rights Front expect tens of thousands to turn out this year.

After months of uncertainty, just last week the group was given a permit to gather on the lawn of Victoria Park in the neighborhood of Causeway Bay.

But they will not be able to meet in the area where they have traditionally started their protest march. That part of the park will be in use by a pro-Beijing group—called the “Hong Kong Celebrations Association.”

The pro-government group will be staging a technology fair to celebrate the anniversary of the handover.

The website Hong Kong Free Press says the police plan to use the park’s water fountain area as a barrier to separate the two groups.

Security will no doubt draw a lot of attention—especially because of the number of visiting dignitaries expected in town for the festivities.

And oh yes, those guests are scheduled to include Xi Jinping making his first visit to Hong Kong since becoming China’s top leader  in 2012.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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