Protesters gathered in Hong Kong’s central Wan Chai district to demand China investigate the death of dissident Li Wangyang as President Hu Jintao addressed a welcome dinner hosted by the city’s government.
Some of the hundreds of residents, who included students and legislators, also called on the Chinese leadership to change its verdict on the 1989 pro-democracy protests that led to the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Demonstrators banged drums, shouted slogans and held banners yesterday as hundreds of police filled the streets around the site.
“Hu Jintao, come out and accept our letter,” demonstrators chanted, as police, some carrying pepper spray canisters, filled the streets near the venue where Hu will swear in a new administration today, the 15th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule. Roads were blocked by police vans and barricades.
A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong police surnamed Hui, who wouldn’t provide her first name, declined to say how many officers were deployed and said the police’s estimate of the number of protesters will be released later.
“We are here to ask for justice for Li Wangyang as Hu Jintao is here,” said Ngan Mochau, a 22-year-old student majoring in government and public administration. “China only talks about cooperation with Hong Kong and what benefits it gives to Hong Kong.”
Li, who was almost deaf and blind, was found hanged in a hospital ward in the Chinese city of Shaoyang on June 6.
In an adjacent site outside the Central Plaza skyscraper, hundreds of supporters of the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China, sat cross-legged in silent prayer below blue and yellow silk banners.
He arrived Friday on a three-day visit and will attend a ceremony today to inaugurate the new government led by Leung Chun-ying.
Hu said the new administration would be able to unite all parts of society and lead them to turn the city into an international metropolis with “economic prosperity, political structural democracy and social harmony,” according to a report of his speech by the official Xinhua News Agency.
Hu said the city’s development over the past 15 years shows that “one country, two systems” is the right policy for Hong Kong, Xinhua said.
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