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Separating fact from fiction in the Hong Kong protests

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We examine the truth behind some of the claims being made around protests in Hong Kong, and look at some of the pictures and videos swirling around social media.


Claim 1: Protesters are picking up rubbish after themselves

True.


Claim 2: Protesters are emulating the 'hands up, don't shoot' gesture of Ferguson

Not really.

The 'hands up, don't shoot' gesture has been etched into the minds of the world by protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed black teenager was shot by a police officer. But demonstrators in Hong Kong are only replicating it unconsciously, having been advised by protest leaders this was the safest way to advance towards riot police.

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However...


Claim 3: Protesters in Ferguson have expressed solidarity with Hong Kong

True.

Whether or not it is because of reports of the 'hands up, don't shoot' gesture being mimicked, protesters in Ferguson have signalled their support for demonstrators in Hong Kong.


Claim 4: The army is rolling into Hong Kong

Not true.

Old pictures of Chinese army tanks on roads into Hong Kong have been circulating online.

Hong Kong's current chief executive CY Leung has warned people not to succumb to the speculation: "I hope the public will keep calm. Don't be misled by the rumours. Police will strive to maintain social order, including ensuring smooth traffic and ensuring the public safety."


Claim 5: The protests have been dubbed the 'umbrella revolution'

Kind of.

This image, or variations upon it, has proved popular online.

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The most recent protests - started by students but then supported by the longstanding Occupy Central With Love and Peace movement - have seen activists take to the streets with ponchos, goggles and umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas.

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But no one from within the movement appears to be using the term 'umbrella revolution', and it serves only as a quite lazy media label.


Claim 6: Police are pepper spraying demonstrators from point blank range

True, sadly.

As the above image suggests, the below pictures and video confirm.


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- - - - - Claim 7: Hong Kong businessmen are joining the protests ####True (brilliantly).
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- - - - - Claim 8: Instagram has been banned in China because of the protests ####It seems so. Instagram hasn't confirmed the block, but it looks like the Chinese government is blocking the service on the mainland - but not Hong Kong itself - to prevent images of the protests from spreading there. Monitoring services blockedinchina.net and greatfire.org suggested Instagram had been blocked. - - - - - - Claim 9: Thousands of people have joined the protests ####True. The scale of the demonstrations is difficult to ascertain, but this footage shot with a drone helps give a sense of how many people are involved.

Claim 10: These are the politest protests ever staged

It looks very likely.

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Picture via James Legge.


Claim 11: Student protesters are doing their homework on the street

Yes!

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Picture via Richard Frost.


**Claim 12: British expats have been feeding protesters with a disposable barbecue

True!

This is as close as Britain has come to supporting the protests.


(Pictures: AP/Getty)


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