US backs Hong Kong calls for greater democracy

Demonstrators sit in a street of the central district after a pro-democracy rally seeking greater democracy in Hong Kong on July 1, 2014 as frustration grows over the influence of Beijing on the cityWashington backed calls for voters in Hong Kong to be given a say in nominating their next leader after half a million protesters marched through the city’s streets on Tuesday. “We support Hong Kong’s well-established traditions and basic law protections that include internationally recognized freedoms such as freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “We believe that an open society with the highest possible degree of autonomy and governed by the rule of law is really essential for Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity,” she told reporters, risking the ire of China. Waving colonial-era flags and chanting anti-Beijing slogans, Tuesday’s protest was the largest since Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain in 1997, organizers said.

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