The world is watching: How Hong Kong protests were covered around the globe
With protests breaking out all over Hong Kong island and parts of Kowloon as the long-awaited Occupy Central civil disobedience movement finally got underway, one oft-repeated refrain by demonstrators was "the world is watching".
The protests, in which police fired tear gas, pepper spray and baton-charged peaceful demonstrators, certainly got the attention participants' were hoping for, making front pages around the globe.
The front page of the International New York Times featured the protests prominently. The Times' Asia bureau is based in Hong Kong and its ranks were filled by a number of veteran China correspodents after they were expelled from the mainland late last year.
The Wall Street Journal covered Occupy Central on its Asia front page with extensive reporting from its large Hong Kong bureau. The Journal also published an editorial calling on the world to support the protesters:
"The confrontation marks a turning point in the city's quest for democracy. For years the people of Hong Kong avoided direct conflict with Beijing in the hope that Chinese authorities might be persuaded to grant them self-government. Now they realize that their only chance for democracy is to demand it," it said.
"Xi Jinping pushed Hong Kong to this point. A July white paper was the first clear indication that the supreme leader would take a harder line. China withdrew the autonomy that it had promised Hong Kong for 50 years as part of the agreement when Britain handed back its territory in 1997, saying the local government is subordinate to Beijing's 'comprehensive authority.'"
"Crackdown in HK as China's anxiety grows" reads the front page splash on the recently redesigned Financial Times. The venerable publication is also covering the effect of the protests on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange extensively.
Occupy Central also received a lot of attention online. As of writing, the front pages of BBC News and CNN International are leading with the protests, both TV networks have also been running rolling footage from reporters on the ground throughout the night. The Huffington Post, one of the US news websites with the biggest traffic, also featured the protests, and police reaction to them, prominently.
Providing a somewhat different take, the Chinese state-controlled Global Times was highly critical of the protests. "The central government firmly opposes all kinds of illegal behaviour in Hong Kong that undermines social order and stability. It is fully confident that the Hong Kong government can handle the situation in accordance with the law and resolutely supports such handling," the paper quoted an official from the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office as saying.
Finally, here is the South China Morning Post's front page from this morning. Follow our live-blog as protests continue, or read all Occupy Central coverage free and un-paywalled.