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Democratic Change Is Our Ultimate Goal, Hong Kong Protester Says

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're going to hear now from a University of Hong Kong journalism student. Arika Ho has taken part in protests while also trying to report on them.

ALBERT HO: It's quite complicated for a journalism student because it is really difficult to take a neutral side.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Ho resolves this by not being neutral. She stands with the protesters. She says their numbers grew after police tried to break up the demonstrations with pepper spray and tear gas Sunday.

CORNISH: And that caused many to call for the resignation of Hong Kong's chief executive. Now the police have backed off. Ho says fears of another crackdown have faded and the activists have bigger ambitions.

HO: Our ultimate goal is fight for a pro-democratic(ph) political reform, instead of just letting our chief executives step down.

INSKEEP: Those reforms involve the election of Hong Kong's next chief executive in 2017. China's government wants to control the list of candidates. To protest that, Arika Ho says about half the students at her school are boycotting classes.

CORNISH: She's been urging them to join her on the street at a particular rallying point.

HO: You know that Hong Kong has a like, a double store(ph) and buses and then it stops at the center of a crossroads?

INSKEEP: The double-decker bus turned into a sort of symbol. She calls it a democracy board, plastered with paper messages supporting the Occupy movement.

HO: And then everyone can stick their slogan or what they urge onto the buses. It is a good way to like, show actually Hong Kong's people really want to say something. I think Hong Kong is really a (unintelligible) society.

INSKEEP: Arika Ho says she's proud the protests have not turned violent and that she has no plans to give up. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.