Chairman of the Standing Committee of the People’s National Congress, Zhang Dejiang spent three days in Hong Kong, between May 17th and May 19th.
Zhang is a member of the Chinese Politburo (the central governing organization of the CCP and therefore the country), and chief official in affairs related to both Macau and Hong Kong.
Zhang was met with some resistance from democracy advocates, including the youth led organization Demosistō.
Activists took actions to voice their displeasure with Zhang, such as displaying large banners with pro democratic messages.
Large scale protests were largely foiled by the impressive security measures taken, which ranged from utilizing divers and scores of police, to confiscating yellow towels and umbrellas; symbols of the 2014 Occupy Movement that gripped Hong Kong.
The most dramatic of these protests was a premeditated “ambush” of Zhang’s convoy outside his hotel.
Several Demosistō members took part in the attempt, standing on the side of the highway or in the median. The police response was swift.
— Joshua Wong Chi-fung (@joshuawongcf) May 17, 2016
The activists were detained for a short while, reportedly receiving further abuse, as shown below.
They brought Wong (who earlier told me they were trying to stage ‘HK’s Tank Man’) to the ground after this pic.twitter.com/TRSlJDUXH8
— Nash Jenkins (@pnashjenkins) May 19, 2016
Though all the activists were released today, the trouble seems to have not ended in relation to this incident.
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Demosistō’s Facebook page reports that five activists related to this display had their residences raided by police.
Zhang has been described as a rising star of the CCP by the Brookings Institute, having studied at Kim Il-Sung University, and been integral in Chinese policy towards that country in the early 1990s.
During Zhang’s visit, he made claims that the CCP was not attempting to subvert Hong Kong’s unique identity, or the principle of “one country, two systems”.
Despite these reassurances to the group of banquet invitees, security officials do not seem to think these arguments are compelling to a significant number of Hong Kongers, due to the significant police presence, and the gluing of bricks to the sidewalk to prevent their use as improvised weapons.
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Cover Photo Credit: 羅冠聰 Nathan Law/ Facebook Video (Screengrab)