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Hong Kong Tennis Open postponed due to pro-democracy protests
Posted on 19/09/2019

SocietyHong Kong

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The Hong Kong Tennis Open was supposed to be held at the beginning of October.

The organizers of the Hong Kong Tennis Open (HKTO) announced last Friday that they would be postponing the event. Pro-democracy protests have ground nearly all activity in Hong Kong to a halt for the past 15 weeks.

The protests were sparked by an extradition bill that would allow those facing criminal charges to be sent to China. According to Hong Kong's financial secretary, tourist visits to Hong Kong have plunged 40 percent when compared with the numbers of the previous August.

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© Law Alan/123RF

Hong Kong's Tourism Board reported a record of 65.1 million tourist arrivals last year, 51 million of which were from mainland China.

The number of arrivals began to take a dive in July, and have yet to recover.

Organizers of the HKTO have claimed that they cannot guarantee "a smooth running of the tournament," concluding that it would be "better assured at a later time."

A new date has yet to be scheduled for the tournament. The HKTO was scheduled to take place from October 5 to October 13.

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© paulwongkwan/123RF

Although the extradition bill has been dropped, activists claim that the city's leadership is refusing to meet their other four essential demands.

They want an independent committee set up to investigate allegations of police violence against protesters over the past few months, and call for Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, to step down.

Protestors have also called for the release of all who have been arrested during the protests and more robust democratic freedoms.

Hong Kong is ruled by a "one country, two systems" policy. While it is technically part of China, it enjoys many democratic freedoms that mainland Chinese residents do not such as press freedom, the right to assembly, and freedom of speech under its constitution known as the Hong Kong Basic Law.

The Basic Law also asserts that Hong Kong has the right to develop its own democracy, and China has complied with this tenent more or less up until recently. Now, the government in Beijing claims that it has complete authority over Hong Kong.

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