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Hong Kong Protests Escalate, More Residents Join on National Holiday

Julia Sun
10/02/14 12:33 PM EDT
Shops in Hong Kong have closed, but protesters continue to believe their agitation for greater democracy will pay off by preserving institutions that made this former British colony a hub city in Asia. Tens of thousands of protesters have camped out in shopping and business districts for nearly a week. A two-day holiday on Wednesday and Thursday brought more residents into the streets to show solidarity with younger protesters. The Hang Seng has plunged, although the protests' impact on Hong Kong's key industries is limited so far. However, economists warn Hong Kong's appeal to the rest of the world might erode if protests become more frequent -- or if they end in a violent crackdown. In the latest blow, mainland authorities suspended group tours to Hong Kong, cutting the lifeline of its growing travel industry. This week's National Day holiday is one of the biggest shopping periods of the year. Protests erupted after the Beijing government announced candidates in the first direct election of the territory's chief executive in 2017 would have to be approved by a panel dominated by business leaders allied with the mainland. Protesters also are frustrated at the growing income gap between ordinary people and the wealthy elite.

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