One year after Hongkongers took to the streets to demand greater democratic freedoms, protesters gathered to mark the first anniversary of the Occupy Central moment as organizers set their sights on upcoming elections.
According to the South China Morning Post, hundreds returned to the site outside government headquarters in Tamar, forming a sea of umbrellas and chanting “I want genuine universal sufferage.” With police out in force to prevent violence and discourage any attempt to reoccupy the roads, the mood was reported to be more subdued and reflective rather than aggressive.
But not all of Hong Kong was united, with more than 100 gathering to hold a counter commemoration, claiming that it “was not a day to celebrate,” but instead a date which marked the beginning of the territory’s economic decline and deep social divide.
29-year-old John Chan Siu-yan, who disagreed with Occupy Central, said: “I still don’t understand why my father, mother and sister supported Occupy. They have a different view and still do. We argue and bang on the dinner table about it.”
At the height of the protests in 2014, which lasted for 79 days, tens of thousands regularly gathered to demand political reform. Yet despite the unprecedented rallies, which made headlines around the world, Beijing remains firmly in charge and Chief Executive CY Leung is still in office.
Joshua Wong, a key figure in the student protest movement and named earlier this year as one of the world’s top 10 leaders by US business magazine Fortune, recently spoke to CCN about the future of the movement.
Discussing what Occupy Central had achieved, Joshua Wong said that it a led to the “political awakening of a generation,” and planned to shift focus to 2047 when Hong Kong’s quasi-autonomous status as agreed by the Sino-British Joint Declaration comes to an end.
“I hope that we can have a referendum… one person one vote, to decide the future of Hong Kong by this kind of self-determination,” said Wong. “Of course, this is really hard to achieve.”
Watch the full interview here: