cheung kong center

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Limiting Democracy                                          

A day after pro-democracy activists protested China’s plan to place limits on democracy in Hong Kong, police patrolled the streets of the business district and barricades were erected outside buildings including the Cheung Kong Center, owned by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, and HSBC Holdings Plc’s Asian headquarters, in a sign of heightened tensions.

China’s demand to vet candidates for the 2017 election angered pro-democracy lawmakers and activist group Occupy Central With Love and Peace, which said it will organize protests culminating in the mass occupation of Hong Kong’s central business district.

President Xi Jinping’s uncompromising stance on limiting democratic reforms in Hong Kong marks a public show of strength that signals to the world – and China’s own citizens – that the ruling Communist Party won’t tolerate any challenges to its authority.

“Beijing has been quite obsessed with projecting a strong image to the world that it has a solid grip on power and its decisions mustn’t be challenged,” said He Weifang, a law professor at Peking University. “Sometimes it looks more arrogant than strong, but the central government doesn’t care, because it would rather err on the side of looking strong than weak.”

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

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