Lunar New Year celebrations in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong broke down into chaos and rioting as police cleared away street vendors. While the vendors were temporary, they were deemed illegal and orders went out to clear them. Traditionally the street vendors would sell their wares to the many celebrants.
Protesters and police fought pitched battles leaving dozens injured and 61 arrested. The streets were littered with bricks and public property damaged. The violence was greater than that seen during street demonstrations in 2014.
The chief HK chief executive condemned the violence and expressed sympathy for the injured police personnel. He announced that investigations into whether the mayhem was orchestrated by those opposed to Beijing’s increasing control of the former British colony.
In January thousands took to the streets of HK to protest the disappearance of five booksellers. Chinese agents are believed to have abducted them. One of the disappeared appeared on a mainland TV station confessing to a hit and run in the PRC December 2003 and stated that he was willing to accept “any punishment”.
Another book seller, Lee Bo, holds a UK passport and his disappearance and subsequent surfacing in mainland China had the UK foreign secretary expressing “deep concern” over his treatment.
While HK was guaranteed more freedom than mainland China when they returned to the PRC, some freedoms have been eroded. The freedom of expression is one of those guaranteed. Book sellers and publishers have been able to offer publications that were banned by the central government.
Those in the PRC are celebrating the Year of the Monkey. According to the official news agency Xinhua, the riots in HK are not newsworthy. When I entered “Hong Kong riots” into their search section I got the following message:
From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1:
10.5.1 500 Internal Server Error
The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.
South China Morning Post
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