The Stream

What’s next for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement?

The Stream also examines a UK visa scandal affecting thousands of foreign students and looks forward to South Africa’s elections.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement
A protest against proposals that would make it easier for Hong Kong to extradite people to mainland China drew thousands of people to the streets on Sunday – and may revive the territory’s pro-democracy movement.

Police say 22,800 people joined the march, while organisers say 130,000 people took part. The rally highlights long-standing concerns among many Hong Kongers that the territory’s chief executive Carrie Lam is too close to Beijing and that the proposals highlight the erosion of the region’s autonomy since it became a Chinese special administrative region in 1997.

Many of those who took part in Sunday’s demonstration carried umbrellas in support of the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, which led a 79-day occupation of downtown Hong Kong in 2014. The march came days after several key figures within the broad-based movement were sentenced to months in jail after being convicted on public nuisance charges. We’ll consider what may happen next.

Foreign students in UK immigration dragnet
Thousands of foreign students are awaiting a ruling from the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid that will ultimately determine whether they can continue to live, study and work in the country.

About 34,000 foreign students who took the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) had their visas cancelled or shortened by the Home Office after a BBC investigation in 2014 found evidence of cheating during exam sessions. Those affected have no right of appeal and are in legal limbo. Students, migrant advocates and several Members of Parliament have criticised the blanket cancellation of visas, saying that the original ruling by then-Home Secretary Theresa May was a political decision under her signature ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy.

We’ll look at what lies in store for those affected in a crisis that some MPs say could be bigger than the Windrush immigration scandal of 2018.

South Africa elections
Millions of people across South Africa are considering how they’ll vote in elections on May 8. While the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is expected to remain in power it is facing one of its sternest challenges from in years from the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

South African President and ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa says his leadership represents a break with the tenure of his predecessor Jacob Zuma, which was dogged with allegations of corruption and wastefulness. But does Ramaphosa’s promise of a clean break carry much weight with voters who have grown frustrated at a lack of jobs and economic opportunity? And what methods are being used by the opposition to catch up to the ANC?

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Joshua Wong @joshuawongcf
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist

Elaine Yu @yuenok
Hong Kong correspondent, AFP

Nazek Ramadan @nazekramadan
Director, Migrant Voice

Fahmida Miller @FahmidaMiller
Al Jazeera correspondent

Nickolaus Bauer @NickolausBauer
Reporter, eNCA & 702 Radio

Read more:
Beijing’s ‘baleful influence’ on Hong Kong’s freedom of speech – Al Jazeera
English test scandal: ‘Eight years pretty much destroyed’ – The Guardian
Cyril Ramaphosa faces a daunting task if he wins South Africa’s election – The Economist

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