Hong Kong protesters toss Chinese flag, clash with police… Shops shut, traffic blocked… Xi faces crisis of confidence

Hong Kong protesters and police face off in familiar cycle

HONG KONG (AP) — On one end of a Hong Kong street, protesters dressed in black ducked behind umbrellas and makeshift barricades, occasionally throwing bricks or slinging rocks. On the other end, police decked out in riot gear shouted warnings and fired tear gas.

As the late hours of Saturday stretched into the early hours of Sunday, neither side budged.

Standoffs between demonstrators and authorities have become a weekly occurrence in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory that has been roiled by a summer of fiery protest. What began as demonstrations against a now-suspended extradition bill has ballooned into a broader call for greater democratic freedoms and government accountability.

The now-familiar cycle of rallies, police interventions and clashes between the two sides have splintered the city. While tens of thousands marched Saturday through Mong Kok, a bustling shopping area, to call for an inquiry into alleged police brutality, another several thousand in a different part of the city gathered to show support for law enforcement.

At one rally, attendees chanted: “Support the Hong Kong police to strictly enforce the law!” At another, protesters yelled: “Police know the law and break the law!”

Shops shut, traffic blocked as protests again roil Hong Kong

HONG KONG, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Stores in the heart of Hong Kong’s Kowloon shopping area shut their doors on Saturday and black-clad activists blocked thoroughfares as the Chinese-controlled city was again rocked by anti-government protests.

Tens of thousands marched through the crowded Mong Kok district in the afternoon, with many then dispersing to different parts of the Kowloon peninsula, where they defaced police station signs and set up barriers across busy streets.

Police said a large group of protesters had marked the Tsim Sha Tsui police station, in one of Kowloon’s shopping districts, with paint and damaged a vehicle inside the station. The police said in a statement that officers had warned them “to stop their illegal act at once and disperse peacefully”.

Riot police could be seen outside the police stations in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok.

Protests against a proposed bill allowing people to be extradited to stand trial in mainland China have grown increasingly violent since June, with police accused of excessive force and failing to protect protesters from suspected gang attacks.

 

Paramount and paranoid: China’s Xi faces a crisis of confidence

SHANGHAI – Chinese scholars and Communist Party cadres have a succinct way of describing the tectonic shifts taking place here: Deng Xiaoping made us rich, now Xi Jinping is making us strong.

The phrase sums up China’s economic rise that began under Deng four decades ago, and the hopes for a similarly significant geopolitical realignment under the current president.

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