The demonstrations were triggered in response to new rules limiting choices in Hong Kong's elections.

They have presented Beijing with a serious challenge: how to keep a lid on dissent in this former British colony without appearing to go back on its promise to hold free elections in 2017.

The protests are expected to escalate on October 1, China's National Day holiday.

The protesters say there should be open nominations for candidates for Hong Kong's 2017 leadership vote. But China's government has endorsed a framework that ensures only pro-Beijing candidates are on the ballot.

China rules Hong Kong under the so-called "one country, two systems" formula that gives the territory only a degree of democracy.

So, is Beijing about to change that formula? And how will it handle this test of power?

Presenter: Laura Kyle

Guests:

Roderic Wye - an associate fellow for the Asia Programme at Chatham House.

Joseph Cheng - professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong.

Gordon Cheung - director of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Durham University.

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Source: Al Jazeera