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Tensions Rise Over Hong Kong Democrats

A U.S. visit by Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker Martin Lee is sharpening the debate over political reform in the former British colony. Beijing has denounced a scheduled Mar. 4 appearance by Lee and other activists before a Senate panel as U.S. meddling in China's affairs. The visit comes in the midst of a Beijing-led campaign that labels some Hong Kong democrats unpatriotic and unfit to rule the city. Following several pro-democracy rallies, China's leaders fear the democrats will trounce pro-Beijing candidates in legislative elections in September. By playing the patriotism card, Beijing is telling Hong Kong voters that support for Lee & Co. will only lead to more unrest in the city. EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady

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