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Hong Kong Protest Chinese Ruling - 2004-04-12

More than 10,000 people have marched in Hong Kong to protest China's ruling that Beijing has control over political reform in the territory. Demonstrators marched to China's liaison office in Hong Kong Sunday, saying the ruling threatens the region's autonomy and attempts at reforms.

Some marchers wore black arm bands to mark what they called the "death" of democracy.

Protesters also called for Hong Kong's Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to step down, after his office backed the decision by Beijing.

In a statement, Hong Kong's government said it had noted the people's concerns over last week's decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

The legislative body ruled that Hong Kong has no authority to amend its mini-constitution known as the Basic Law. It said Hong Kong officials must ask China for permission to make changes.

Chinese officials said the decision was needed to clarify how the Basic Law deals with the selection of officials in Hong Kong.

Critics say the decision shows China is not serious about promises to grant autonomy to Hong Kong at the end of British rule in 1997.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.