Hong Kong protesters angry at a visit by a top Beijing official shouted pro-democracy slogans and demanded free elections Wednesday but were kept away from talks seen as an attempt to bridge a growing political divide.
The three-day trip by Zhang Dejiang, who chairs China’s communist-controlled legislature, is the first by such a senior official in four years and comes as concerns grow that freedoms are under threat in semi-autonomous Hong Kong as Beijing tightens its grip.
Although Zhang’s trip is ostensibly for an economic conference, it is widely being seen as a conciliatory mission and a chance to gauge whether Beijing should back the city’s unpopular leader Leung Chun-ying to stand for a second term.
It comes as frustration over lack of reform has sparked a fledgling independence movement, condemned by authorities in Hong Kong and China. Read More