Mere hours after visiting Chinese president Xi Jinping warned Hong Kong to reject separatism in a farewell speech here Saturday, defiant marchers demanded greater political freedom from China and even outright independence.
Pro-independence banners, as well as the colonial flag, were carried by mostly youthful demonstrators who braved sweltering summer temperatures to join an annual protest march, timed to coincide with the anniversary of China’s resumption of sovereignty over the politically divided former British colony.
Marchers began gathering in the afternoon in the city’s downtown Victoria Park in uncomfortable proximity to an outdoor exhibition — organized by a Who’s Who of pro-China grandees — touting China’s myriad achievements. The exhibition’s centerpieces were an unused Chinese space rocket and a model of the Shenzhou manned spacecraft.
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