Chinese media today dismissed Hong Kong's independence movement as a political "gimmick", following the city's first pro-independence rally that was attended by more than 2,000 people.
Chinese media today dismissed Hong Kong’s independence movement as a political “gimmick”, following the city’s first pro-independence rally that was attended by more than 2,000 people.
The unprecedented rally saw people fill a park near the government’s headquarters last night, chanting “Hong Kong independence”.
The protest was led by five pro-independence candidates who were banned from standing for election in Hong Kong because they advocate a split from mainland China.
Critics have slammed the move as censorship as fears grow over Beijing interference in the semi-autonomous city in a range of areas, from politics to media and education.
“Hong Kong independence follows the fantasies of certain people and has become one of the city’s most extreme political gimmicks,” China’s Global Times newspaper said today.
“It is completely impossible to be realised,” the state-run paper said.
It added that Hong Kong authorities would feel the need for “institutional restrictions” in the face of the independence movement “to prevent it from being taken seriously and ultimately polluting the city’s politics”.
Independence calls, which until recently were a taboo topic, have evolved out of the “localist” movement of mainly young campaigners disappointed after mass rallies in 2014, known as the Umbrella Movement, failed to win concessions from China on political reform.
Some “localists” do not advocate independence, but are instead pushing for self-determination for Hong Kong, an idea which has taken root among other pro-democracy campaigners.
Demosisto, a new party set up by Umbrella Movement activists including well-known campaigner Joshua Wong, has made self-determination its central platform, although it does not cast itself as a “localist” organisation.