BBC screen shot

Pro-democracy demonstrators continued to throng the streets of Hong Kong on Wednesday — a conspicuous day, as it was a Chinese national holiday — calling for the resignation of Chief Executive CY Leung as well as for a change in how candidates for the country’s top positions are chosen.

The BBC laid out the main reasons for the ongoing protests in and around Hong Kong’s business center:

This crisis is about the most fundamental promise of democracy: who should choose the man or woman who governs Hong Kong?

The nub of the argument is with Article 45 of the Basic Law – the agreement that underpinned Hong Kong’s transition from British to Chinese rule.

It says the “ultimate aim” should be to elect the chief executive by universal suffrage. To that end, the law stipulated that a “broadly representative” nominating committee should select candidates for election.

But in August, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber stamp parliament, ruled that candidates needed to get more than half the votes of that committee. Pro-democracy activists sensed a stitch-up: they believe the committee will be loaded with Beijing’s supporters and will ensure China controls nominations.

Protesters number in the thousands and have thus far maintained a peaceful atmosphere, and the government has not moved to crack down on the crowds; the standoff could continue for weeks if officials decide to wait out the demonstrations. Meanwhile, student groups are considering strategies like occupying government buildings as they push to expedite the departure of Leung, who was heckled Wednesday while observing China’s 65th National Day.

The BBC also tracked the innovative ways protesters are communicating while more popular social media channels are being blocked by Chinese censors. Heard of Firechat? Read about it here.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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