Hong Kong crowds only growing

October 1, 2014, 2:39 PM UTC
Hong Kong Streets The Day After Clashes Between Pro-Democracy Protesters And Police
Demonstrators gather near the central government offices in the business district of Admiralty in Hong Kong, China, on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. Chan Kin-man, a leader of the Occupy Central with Love and Peace protest group, said the protest movement is now waiting for the government to respond to demands such as fully-free elections and the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the citys top official. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Lam Yik Fei — Bloomberg via Getty Images

It’s day five of massive crowds blockading large portions of Hong Kong’s central business areas. What started in earnest Saturday night with thousands of pro-democracy students has become a worldwide spectacle. Media around the world are calling it “China’s Democracy Crisis.”

The crowds Wednesday night were expected to be the largest yet. China’s National Day, commemorating the Communist’s rise to power 65 years ago, began today, and a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong told Bloomberg the number of people hitting the streets could eventually reach 300,000 to 400,000.

But for all the coverage, the pictures, the drone footage, the two sides in the fight remain diametrically opposed. Beijing has drafted new rules requiring Hong Kong’s leader to be pre-screened before an election as it exerts greater leverage over the city. The students and pro-democracy group Occupy Central, meanwhile, are calling for free elections.

Beijing has showed no signs of backing down. On Wednesday the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily ran a story about Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung marking the National Day holiday without ever mentioning the tens of thousands of students in the streets. Beijing’s strategy appears to be to wait it out. They have a five-day holiday to do so. Coverage from CNN and the BBC is routinely blacked out within China, and social media is being heavily censored to restrict the news flow.

Protestors said Wednesday they would start occupying several government buildings if Leung didn’t resign by the end of Thursday, the AP reported. The demand seemed intended to pressure Beijing, Leung’s supporter, into action. On Wednesday, that still seemed far off.