Before police in riot gear fired rounds of tear gas at unarmed protesters on September 28, few could have expected that the siege of the government headquarters would turn the scripted Occupy Central (zhanling zhonghuan 佔領中環) into Hong Kong’s biggest and most unprecedented pro-democracy movement amidst its electoral reforms. In the next twoand- a-half months, protesters of what became the Umbrella Movement (yusan yundong 雨傘運動) would occupy major roads in the city’s busiest districts, set up tents, stock up supplies, and protect their territories with makeshift barricades, sometimes with human chains, to stop police incursion and opposing groups. Across the encampments, they would press on for a focused goal – “genuine universal suffrage” (zhen puxuan 真普選) for election of their Chief Executive, the city’s top leader – until police officers cleared the last occupied site on December 15. This article assesses the implications of the Umbrella Movement as it drew to a close. It explains how the movement morphed from the Occupy Central movement, and reviews the controversy raised over the city’s rule of law and constitutional relations with mainland China. Despite having amplified democracy supporters’ yearnings for universal suffrage, the movement, in which no compromise was offered by Beijing and the Hong Kong government, will likely deepen social cleavages and send the city toward an uncertain future.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2015|