Crowds gather for Olympic torch relay in Hong Kong

Soaked by a morning drizzle, people began gathering hours before the Olympic torch relay began Friday in Hong Kong, with some waving red Chinese flags and others holding signs demanding democracy in China, according to AP.

The eight-hour relay through canyons of skyscrapers was expected to be a big challenge for Hong Kong's leaders and police. The torch is finally back on Chinese soil, and Beijing wants no repeat of the protests and chaos that dogged the flame during its 20-nation overseas tour.

Everyone was encouraged to wear red to show their support for the torch, and about 3,000 police were deployed to defend the flame.

But if there was to be any more trouble it was likely to happen in Hong Kong, a place with civil liberties unrivaled in the rest of China.

Two hours before the relay began, people started lining up along the streets near the start of the event in the bustling tourist shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon.

As a light rain fell, some spectators had big Chinese flags, while others carried protest signs. One woman had an orange sign that said, "Olympic flame for democracy," while a man carried a poster with a tank and the slogan "One world, two dreams."

University student Christina Chan wrapped the Tibetan snow lion flag around her body and later began waving it. China's recent crackdown on Tibet has inspired many of the protests against the torch overseas.

Several onlookers heckled Chan, shouting "What kind of Chinese are you?" and "What a shame!"

The 21-year-old Chan said, "Why can't we just respect each other and express our views."

Hong Kong was a British colony until the city was handed back to China in 1997. Although Beijing makes all the big political decisions, Hong Kong was promised a wide degree of autonomy under a formula called "one country, two systems."

Media in Hong Kong are allowed to criticize the territory's leaders. There have been massive street protests demanding greater democracy. English is still the official language in the courts, where judges wear British-style wigs.

But for special events like the Olympic torch relay, Hong Kong leans more toward the "one country" part of the formula than the "two systems."

In the past week, authorities used a blacklist to stop seven pro-Tibet and human rights activists at the airport. They were questioned and deported.

It is a tactic the authorities have used before for other events, especially those involving high-ranking Chinese leaders. They decline to explain the deportations, saying it's a private matter.

But actress Mia Farrow was allowed into Hong Kong Thursday to give a speech critical of China's cozy ties with Sudan. However, Farrow said that immigration officials asked her for assurances that she wouldn't disrupt the torch relay. She said she wouldn't.

It was all part of Hong Kong's delicate balancing act - pleasing political masters in Beijing while trying to be a free society and a freewheeling global financial capital.

Some have criticized Hong Kong's list of 120 relay runners for not having enough athletes and being overloaded with political and business figures.

The first runner will be Hong Kong's sole Olympic gold medalist, Lee Lai-shan, who won the women's windsurfing event at the 1996 Atlanta Games. But other runners include 21 tycoons and 13 politicians. Pansy Ho, a daughter of casino magnate Stanley Ho, will carry the flame, along with Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, son of Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Azerbaijani president receives EU Special Representative (PHOTO/VIDEO) (UPDATE)
Azerbaijani president receives EU Special Representative (PHOTO/VIDEO) (UPDATE)
Slovakia interested in deepening relations with Azerbaijan - FM
Slovakia interested in deepening relations with Azerbaijan - FM
Azerbaijan - supporter of normalization of relations with Armenia, says FM
Azerbaijan - supporter of normalization of relations with Armenia, says FM
Loading Bars
Latest
Georgian foreign trade turnover increases
Iran increases petrochemicals production
Kazakhstan sees increase in number of open trading accounts
​Iran allocates more funds for oil and gas projects in Ilam Province
Turkey unveils data on cargo traffic via its ports from Spain
Georgia's domestic export up in 9M2021
Value of Turkish cement exports to Georgia for 8M2021 down
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Greece for 8M2021
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Egypt in 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,102 more COVID-19 cases, 863 recoveries
Cargo traffic on Azerbaijan's section of TRACECA for 8M2021 revealed
IMF lowers breakeven oil price level for Azerbaijan
Saudi index hits 15-year peak as most Gulf bourses gain
Israel's Bank Mizrahi Tefahot to issue $1.1 bln of CPI-linked bonds
Iran seeks to complete semi-finished project related to Lake Urmia's revitalization
Iran imports trucks to renovate transportation fleet
IMF revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s non-oil GDP growth
Iran`s domestic appliances production increases
IMF reveals forecast for Azerbaijan’s annual inflation
Iran's imports from neighboring countries up
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipment via its ports from Singapore for 8M2021
Hungarian companies to attend Rebuild Karabakh EXPO
Azerbaijan raises gas exports via BTE pipeline
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's GDP
Azerbaijani ministry denies rumors about full transition of schools to online lessons
Slovakia interested in deepening relations with Azerbaijan - FM
Turkey reveals cargo traffic with Morocco for 8M2021
Data on cargo shipping between Turkey and Algeria for 8M2021 revealed
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Israel for 8M2021
TAP partially stems increase in gas prices – managing director
Iran to sell oil through private sector
Iran started exploration of mining sites in South Khorasan Province
Minister talks preferential loans issued in Azerbaijan since early 2021
Bakcell ready to implement eSIM project in Azerbaijan - CEO
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 19
Iran's steel production increases
Iran eyes to boost domestic production in mining, industrial and commercial sectors
AccessBank eyes increasing loan portfolio mainly in segment of micro, agricultural entrepreneurs - Acting Chairman of Board (Interview)
National bank of Georgia shares data on payment cards issuance
Average mobile internet download speed continues to grow in Azerbaijan - Ookla
Galt & Taggart publishes overview of Georgia's economic growth
USAID selecting Turkmen business projects for co-financing
Eni Turkmenistan Ltd opens tender for supply of wellhead equipment
Azerbaijan exported most of its oil to Italy in 9M2021 - State Customs Committee
Iran ready to attract investment in renewable energy sector - minister
Azerbaijan - supporter of normalization of relations with Armenia, says FM
Azerbaijan, Slovakia eye signing agreement on economic co-op
Slovakia to supply Azerbaijan with de-mining machines in near future
Azerbaijan denies rumors about impeding exports from Iran to Russia
Iran Standards and Quality Inspection Agency releases car quality report
Iran to complete railway transit corridors - RAI
Baku Expo Center to soon open 'Rebuild Karabakh' exhibition
Joint press conference of Azerbaijani and Slovak FMs held in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
VTB Bank in Georgia to back up creation of Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Center
Uzbekistan to produce its first electric cars
Turkey's steel export to Uzbekistan surges in value for 9M2021
Turkey shares data for cargo traffic via domestic ports from Ukraine in 8M2021
Azerbaijani, Slovak FMs holding expanded meeting (PHOTO)
Turkmen state concern to buy chemical products via tender
Azerbaijan’s 'Kalbajar' tanker leaves for first voyage
Renewables’ share in global energy supply to increase to over 25%
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 19
Iran discloses volume of exports from Parvizkhan border terminal
PwC announces new strategy: The New Equation
India’s active Covid cases fall below 200k for the first time in seven months
Russia’s investments in US government securities in August remain at July level
Death accident takes place during construction of road in Azerbaijan's Kalbajar
Quake off Greece's Karpathos shakes eastern Mediterranean
Renewable Energy Agency talks on projects in Azerbaijan’s liberated lands
Israel's El Al Airlines starts talks to buy smaller rival Arkia
NEQSOL Holding ​comments on its intent to purchase shares in Ukraine’s largest cement producer
Azerbaijani president receives Slovak FM (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president receives EU Special Representative (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran COVID-19 vaccinations on track - President Raisi
Iran continues to sell state-owned property
Iran textile industry faces smuggling challenges - official
Turkey names volume of cargo traffic via its ports from China for 8M2021
Turkmenistan’s education ministry opens tender for drip irrigation system
Turkey reveals volume of cargo shipment via local ports from Belgium for 8M2021
Iran boosts exports to Pakistan
Number and value of exchanged checks in Iran increases
Kazakhstan to develop railway corridors to China
Azerbaijan notes decrease in oil prices
Uzbekistan, Int'l Foundation for Electoral Systems discuss co-op prospects
Turkmen Khazar Consortium opens tender for building materials
Azerbaijan repairing small hydropower plants in liberated lands
Iran provides land for affordable housing project
Iran shares data on trade turnover with ECO member states
Iran sees increase in exports to Azerbaijan
TBC Capital publishes weekly economic review of Georgia
Most COVID-19 infection cases in Azerbaijan fall on Baku
Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku to hold concert of famous European chamber orchestra
Iran cannot accept loss of control for "gray zone" of drug trafficking via Karabakh - analyst
Colder winter could boost gas to oil switching demand
'Umblical cord': In Israel, Jaishankar hails contribution of Indian Jewish community
Further boost in OPEC+ output could risk building inventories above five-year average
India, US, Israel & UAE coming together to form a 2nd Quad?
Azerbaijani army starts command post exercises in Lachin district
Iranian currency rates for October 19
All news