Hong Kong authorities are on high alert as Zhang Dejiang, chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee attends a conference on Wednesday. There are at least 8,000 police officers on duty to block pro-democracy protesters from approaching the venue. The police force has set up hundreds of large crowd-control barriers. Counter-Terrorism plans are in place as well.
In 2014, the city flared up with pro-democracy protests when Zhang visited. The authorities are trying to prevent the 2014 incident from happening again. As a precaution,he sidewalk bricks are glued to avoid protesters from throwing them at the police.
Tension are high as pro-democracy protesters exclaimed “Zhang Dejiang get lost from Hong Kong” and signs were burned. They are urging Beijing to stop meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs and genuine universal suffrage is wanted. A large banner “I want universal suffrage” is found on a city peak and another reads “End of the Communist Party dictatorship.” These banners are placed on the route where Zhang will pass through.
Upon Zhang’s arrival, he said he came “with the care and love of the central government and all the people in the country for Hong Kong” and would listen to “suggestions and demands” from the citizens. His words were rejected by the residents due to mistrust.
Many are worried that the freedom Hong Kong currently enjoy will disappear because of the mainland’s ruling. Avery Ng, part of the League of Social Democrats, said Zhang “singlehandedly blocked the democratic path of Hong Kong two years ago.”