To mark the coming of a new year, Hong Kong residents took to the streets in protest against the Chinese government. On Jan. 1, between 26, 000 and 130, 000 protestors called for the resignation of Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying, who is accused of illegally renovating his mansion. While the protests widely focused on the alleged corruption of Leung, who took office last year after being chosen by a small, elite committee, many came to protest a general lack of democracy in the semi-autonomous region.
The Associated Press reports that many protestors chanted anti-Beijing slogans, and many used anti-Beijing iconography in their calls for greater democracy. During the march, one man depicted Leung as a wolf in a Maoist uniform and many protestors waved the British colonial flag that was used in Hong Kong before it became part of China in 1997. A smaller, pro-Beijing protest was also held in the city, with between 8, 000 and 60, 000 in attendance.
This is not the first time that Hong Kong has pushed back against the Chinese government. In the summer of 2012, tens of thousands marched against compulsory “Chinese patriotism classes” for all Hong Kong students, which the government eventually eliminated after students started skipping the classes en masse. On June 4th, record numbers attended a vigil in Hong Kong to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre, a practice which is largely forbidden on the mainland.