A pro-democracy protester stands next to a banner in Hong Kong on September 30, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez
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Hong Kong's leader refused to meet with pro-democracy demonstrators by their midnight deadline Tuesday, despite their threats to expand the protests that have clogged the streets with tens of thousands of people in the stiffest challenge to Beijing's authority since China took control of the former British colony in 1997 .Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's rejection of the student demands dashed hopes for a quick resolution of the five-day standoff that has blocked city streets and forced some schools and offices to close.There were no immediate speeches or official statements from the protesters.government has condemned the student-led protests as illegal, though so far it has not overtly intervened, leaving Hong Kong authorities to handle the crisis.Hong Kong's free press and social media give the protesters exposure that may help prevent China from cracking down in the same way it has on restive minorities and dissidents living in the mainland, where public dissent is often harshly punished.
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