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What’s really happening in Hong Kong?

While the images may be mesmerizing, most media consumers don’t fully understand what is happening in Hong Kong – a battle for freedom against encroaching despotic communist rule. For citizens of the once semi-independent British colony, it’s a battle between life and death.

For 16 weeks, mainly on the weekends, hundreds of thousands of people have been holding huge protests against their government and that government’s overlord – China.

The response to the demonstrations has increasingly turned violent as they did this past weekend at the Sha Tin Mall in Hong Kong.

On Sunday, scores of pro-democracy protesters squared off with riot police at a mall, subway station and on the streets of Hong Kong’s northern town of Sha Tin in what has become an all too familiar scene.

For 16 straight weekends, demonstrators took their anger and frustration to the streets setting barricades on fire and blocking roads.

Police responded by charging the crowds, firing tear gas and beating protesters.

At one point during the day, demonstrators ripped and trampled on a Chinese flag provoking an angry response from China’s state media which called the act “blasphemy.”

Protesters chanted, “Reclaim Hong Kong!” and “Revolution of our times!”

In one suburb, a more peaceful march brought dozens of people together singing the US national anthem and holding American flags as they walked the streets.

Demonstrators have urged the Trump administration to save Hong Kong from China. The American anthem has been regularly sung from loudspeakers as protesters look to the U.S. for inspiration.

The protests first erupted over a controversial extradition law, which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China.

Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has since agreed to withdraw the extradition bill that sparked the protests in June.

But the anti-government protesters are pressing other demands, including fully democratic elections in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, and an independent investigation of complaints about police violence during earlier demonstrations.

Also, the former British colony is bracing for potentially more chaos ahead of next Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The protests have begun to weigh on Hong Kong’s economy, which already was slowing due to cooling global consumer demand. The Hong Kong airport said passenger traffic fell in August, and business is off at hotels and retailers.

While the Chinese government will hold massive celebrations, authorities in Hong Kong are canceling various events, including a major fireworks display that marks the national holiday on October 1.

–Metro Voice and wire services