WH closely monitoring Hong Kong protests

President Obama and White House national security adviser Susan Rice warned the Chinese foreign minister Wednesday that they were closely monitoring pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, according to a release from the White House.

The readout of the meeting with Obama, Rice and Foreign Minister Wang Yi says that the administration hopes “that differences between Hong Kong authorities and protestors will be addressed peacefully,” underscoring their hopes for an “open” Hong Kong.


Demonstrations in Hong Kong have went on for more than a week, after students began protesting the slate of candidates for the 2017 elections. China has final say on the candidates for chief executive, Hong Kong’s highest office, and will only allow approved candidates to run. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets, according to Reuters.

Protests continued Wednesday through China’s National Day, a holiday commemorating communist China’s founding.

Hong Kong is an autonomous region that’s been under China’s control since a British lease expired in 1997. The Chinese government initially said it would allow free elections in the region in 2017, but appears to have reneged on that promise.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest addressed the protests during a press briefing Monday, expressing America’s support for “an open society with the highest possible degree of autonomy.”

Obama plans to visit Beijing in November.