11/14/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Occupy students to travel to Beijing in "political protest"

by Paul Wang
Students want to meet with Premier Li Keqiang and members of the National People's Congress, which curbed Hong Kong's freedom. Protesters are concerned that police might move in to clear protest sites and end sit-ins. About 31 people arrested in October are released.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Three Student Federation leaders will travel to Beijing tomorrow to lodge a protest over the central government's restrictive plans for democratic reform.

For the past month and a half, students and activists have occupied some areas of the city demanding full democracy. This followed Beijing's decision to allow universal suffrage in the selection of the chief executive whilst retaining control over who could run for the office.

Last night, Student Federation secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang said that the trip to Beijing was a "political protest". He and two other Federation officials hope to meet with Premier Li Keqiang, officials and delegates to China's parliament, which adopted the new rules.

"The central government has destroyed 'one country, two systems' over the past years," Chow said. "[The trip] symbolises that Hongkongers are not afraid of Beijing's manipulation." However, at present, they are not sure if they would be allowed entry.

Since the start of the protest, Beijing has censored all information about the Occupy movement and arrested dozens of activists and pro-democracy supporters who tried to enter the mainland in solidarity with the students, or expressed online support for their action.

The trip could be cancelled if the police tonight cleared protest sites in Admiralty and Mong Kok beforehand. In fact, a drivers' group has applied to the High Court for an injunction to get the streets cleared, and police seem to be waiting for the right time to move in.

After nearly seven weeks, young people still face a government that will not budge or discuss Beijing's proposed reforms. Earlier in the confrontation, criminal gangs (perhaps paid by China) beat up some young people in order to end the occupation.

As things drag on, more and more Hongkongers will become disgruntled with impassable streets and students out of school.

Meanwhile, 31 Occupy activists arrested during a clash with police in Lung Wo Road on October 15 were freed unconditionally yesterday. They had refused to keep making regular visits to a police station to renew their bail.

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