Prelude to Umbrella Movement: Key Events Leading up to Hong Kong Protest
Here are the main events leading up to the Umbrella Movement.
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Setting the Stage: CCP Backtracks and Early Response
Tuesday, June 10
In a 23,000-word white paper released by the China State Council Information Office, China claims “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and suggests that the Basic Law — Hong Kong’s constitution — can be changed at any time.
With this move, the CCP effective reneges the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, which states that Hong Kong will retain full autonomy and politically unchanged for a period of fifty years after the British hand-over in 1997.
Wednesday, June 11
The Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) publishes an official rebuttal to the white paper, while a few dozen people from nine different groups — Scholarism, the League of Social Democrats, and People Power among them — participate in a small scale protest.
The civil society groups plan to hold an online referendum on June 20 to call on the Chinese government for universal suffrage and to allow true democratic elections for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive in 2017.
Currently, Hong Kong’s leaders are hand-picked by a 1,200-member committee that is pro-Beijing. Incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying won the 2012 Hong Kong Chief Executive Election with 689 votes.
Joshua Wong, convener of Scholarism, said that the white paper will motivate the Hong Kong people to come out and speak up.
Friday – Sunday, June 20-29
Pro-democratic group Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP) plan to hold a mass protest of the Hong Kong government if the Hong Kong government cannot come up with a proposal that meets their demands after a consultation on electoral reform.
Sunday, August 17
The Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), a pro-CCP group formed on July 3 to oppose Occupy Central, held a march against universal suffrage, the first instance of Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong civil society.
Sunday, August 31
The National People’s Congress Standing Committee declares that Hong Kong can have universal suffrage in the Hong Kong Chief Executive elections, as long as a pro-Beijing committee selects the candidates and the CCP gets the final say in the outcome.
Pro-democracy supporters held a rally at Tamar Park to protest Beijing’s latest deception.
Wednesday, September 10
Chris Patten, the last British Governor of Hong Kong, declared that the British were “honor bound to speak up for Hong Kong,” and likened Beijing’s latest candidate-vetting shenanigan to the state-run democracy in Iran.
Monday – Friday, September 22-26
Students from 25 schools and universities go ahead with a week-long boycott to protest Beijing’s decision to proceed with indirect elections for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive position.
The Spark: Students Occupy Hong Kong Central and Police Violence
Friday and Saturday, September 26 – 27
About 150 students that participated in the earlier week-long boycott entered government headquarters compound in Hong Kong Central on the evening of September 26.
Police responded by arresting students and using pepper sprays.
Scholarism convener Joshua Wong was arrested, and was released 40 hours later.
The civil society group Occupy Central with Love and Peace joined the students on Saturday, pushing forward their plans to start occupying Central on Wednesday, October 1.