On July 1, 1997, China regained the British territory of Hong Kong. At the time, there were promises about keeping the territory semi-autonomous and granting it the traditional and special freedoms enjoyed under British rule.
Those promises have remained largely unfulfilled, which has triggered annual protests in Hong Kong every year on July 1. This week, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to demand democracy in one of the largest marches in Hong Kong’s history.
The protests this year were mostly led by young students, but there were the largest crowds in more than a decade. The demonstrations come just weeks after nearly 800,000 Hong Kong residents voted in what Beijing dismissed as an illegal election demanding more freedom. Now the cynicism about Beijing in Hong Kong is at an all time high.
Alejandro Reyes, a professor of politics at the University of Hong Kong and Senior Adviser to the US-Asia Institute, weighs in.