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Hong Kong Protesters Target Shopping Areas For Holiday Rallies.

For over six months, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have usually emerged on weekends to display their unhappiness with the pro-Chinese government and police force supported by the Chinese Communist Party's central government on the mainland. Now that the holiday season is here, the city must now expect weekday demonstrations over Christmas week.

Social media notices indicate that an event called "Suck the Christmas" is in the works for Wednesday, Christmas Day where protests are expected in different districts of the former British colony.

The( targets of the protests include five shopping malls that figure to be full of last-minute Christmas Eve shoppers. A "countdown rally" near the city's harbor front in the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district is also planned.

The demonstrations over this past weekend took on a familiar pattern with a rally that started out peaceful on Sunday and ended in violence with black-clad masked demonstrators hurling bricks and glass at police. The police retaliation included the usual tools of pepper spray and loaded guns but fortunately, no shots were fired, according to Reuters witnesses and Cable Television.

The original cause of the protests was over an extradition bill pushed by the government that some Hong Kongers viewed as Chinese meddling to take away freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam formally withdrew the bill in early September but by then several more demands were added to the protester's list.

The newer demands included an independent investigation into allegations of excessive force by the police, the release of all arrested demonstrators, universal suffrage and full democracy. Another cause was on display Sunday morning when 1,000 people staged a rally to support the Uighur Muslims plight in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.

This has been drawing a lot of attention globally, especially in the U.S. where legislation calling for more sanctions against China has been signed into law to stop the human rights abuses by China on the Uighurs.

Perhaps the biggest irony with any Christmas protests is that they are not based on anything to do with Christianity and the religious aspects of the holiday. The Chinese Communist Party is considered atheist and while there may be 100 million Christians in Hong Kong and China, they are a very small minority. But both countries are avid celebrants of the commercial side of Christmas meaning that the protests are meant to target the pocketbooks and not the souls of the pro-Chinese sector.

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Author:James Patterson
Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Dec 23, 2019
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