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Voices from Hong Kong: Inside a Chinese city's fight for democracy

Sunday Journal: The origin of Hong Kong protests
Sunday Journal: The origin of Hong Kong protests 06:35

Hong Kong — Monday marked the end of the third straight month in Hong Kong's "summer of protest." Over the weekend, thousands of people hit the streets again — this time parading American flags and singing the U.S. National Anthem in the hope of getting Washington's attention.

Many Hong Kongers want the U.S. Congress to take up and pass the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act," which would punish officials in Hong Kong and mainland China if they suppress liberties and freedoms in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

The Asian financial hub, known for its stability and growth into an economic miracle during the past half-decade, has been in the throes of the worst chaos and violence it's seen in modern memory. A controversial China extradition bill first lit the match of anger that has exploded into million-person marches, and the "five demands" made by the pro-democracy movement.

Hong Kong protesters wave American flags asking for help 01:54

Hong Kong's deeply unpopular chief executive Carrie Lam has announced the official withdrawal of that despised bill, but protesters still seethe. Four demands remain: an independent probe into police brutality, amnesty for all anti-government protesters arrested, the retraction of the word "rioters" to describe such protesters and the resignation of Lam herself to pave the way for universal suffrage; one person, one vote to elect the next Hong Kong leader. Right now, only Beijing has the power to choose that person.

CBS News has been covering the protests since the beginning. Below is a sample of the voices from the Hong Kong protests, including people from both sides of the narrative.

Protest leader Bonnie Leung  

Bonnie Leung is vice chair of the Civil Human Rights Front, one of the lead organizers of the peaceful marches underway in Hong Kong. She's been in the streets since early June, and tells CBS News why even with the extradition bill off the table, she and many others feel they "cannot leave the movement here."

Voices from Hong Kong: Activist Bonnie Leung 01:58

Legislator Claudia Mo

As a journalist, Claudia Mo covered the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing. Since then she has become a popularly elected member of Hong Kong's legislature, and she backs the protests. She says she sees Beijing slowly eroding the freedoms the city has enjoyed, but is determined to "find hope."

Voices from Hong Kong: Lawmaker Caudia Mo 01:40

Businessman Jimmy Lai

Jimmy Lai is a Hong Kong entrepreneur and owner of one of the territory's largest media companies. Unlike many of the business leaders in Hong Kong, however, the media tycoon backs the anti-government protests. Asked why, he responds with another question: "What use is money if you don't have freedom?"

Voices from Hong Kong: Businessman Jimmy Lai 02:03

Cabinet member Regina Ip  

Regina Ip is a popularly-elected, pro-Beijing legislator and member of Chief Executive Carrie Lam's cabinet. She says Beijing recognizes the need for "different systems of values and ideas" to coexist, but in the end she suggests the "American dream" may not be a realistic objective in China.

Voices from Hong Kong: Cabinet member Regina Ip 01:58

Constitutional lawyer Martin Lee

Martin Lee is a constitutional lawyer and was instrumental in drafting the so-called Basic Law of Hong Kong that established the "one country, two systems" framework. He is now a supporter of the pro-democracy movement in the Chinese territory. 

Voices from Hong Kong: Lawyer Martin Lee 01:43's Tucker Reals in London contributed to this report.

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