Police say 92,000 pro-democracy protestors have flooded the streets of Hong Kong on the 17th anniversary of the end of colonial rule on the island.
In recent years the day has become less a celebration, and more a day to demonstrate against an increasingly anti-democratic, mainland-leaning Hong Kong government.
The South China Morning Post is covering it live.
Meanwhile, on the mainland, users of Weibo (China’s answer to Twitter) are reporting that images and messages documenting what’s going down in Hong Kong are quickly being deleted.
“One of my colleagues, William Zheng, Chief editor for SCMPChinese.com, our Chinese news site, confirmed that his Weibo account was suspended for no reason,” South China Morning Post Financial Editor George Chen told Business Insider. “Before his account was suspended, he posted a series of Hong Kong protest related articles and photos. Many Weibo users on the mainland said they had no idea of what was happening in Hong Kong today, but they can tell something strange is going on from Weibo because suddenly you see quite a number of popular Hong Kong Weibo users, including some celebrities, suddenly stopped updating. Many think it’s because they have been forbidden from posting.”
Sina, the company that owns Weibo, is listed on the Nasdaq here in the United States.
Demonstrations like this one aren’t necessarily new, but this year they are bigger — last year police say 66,000 people protested while organisers said the figure was more like 430,000.
This year’s protestors are also a direct challenge to an increasingly power-hungry Beijing. Last month, officials on the mainland wrote a white paper saying that Hong Kong’s political autonomy isn’t an “inherent power.“
That prompted Occupy Central, a pro-democracy group, to hold a referendum Monday on whether or not Beijing should be allowed to vet Hong Kong political candidates in the island’s 2017 election.
800,000 people showed up and voted no.
“Mainland authority currently has no direct power to stop public protests in Hong Kong but they can influence the Hong Kong government in many aspects,” said Chen.
It sounds like most people think many is far too many.