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Mass protests in Hong Kong as new leader is sworn in

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators gathered to protest 15 years of Chinese rule as Hong Kong's third chief executive was being sworn in.

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Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents take part in an annual pro-democracy protest march in Hong Kong July 1. The march was an occasion for ordinary people to air their grievances over a range of issues.

Kin Cheung/AP

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A pro-democracy heckler interrupted a speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the swearing-in of Hong Kong's new leader Sunday and tens of thousands of residents marched to protest Chinese rule on the 15th anniversary of the Asian financial hub's return to Beijing's control.

The outpouring of discontent underscored rising tensions between the Communist mainland and the vibrant city of 7 million that was returned to China in 1997 after more than a century of British colonial rule. While much of the discontent revolves around growing economic inequality and stunted democratic development, Hong Kongers are also upset over what they see as arrogant Chinese behavior - wealthy mainlanders taking over retail outlets during flashy Hong Kong shopping trips, for example, or even the choice of language during Sunday's swearing-in ceremony, Beijing-accented Mandarin instead of the Cantonese dialect spoken locally.

In the ceremony, self-made millionaire Leung Chun-ying, 57, became Hong Kong's third chief executive after Donald Tsang and Tung Chee-hwa. He has promised to address Hong Kongers' economic needs, including skyrocketing housing prices, which many blame on deep-pocketed mainland apartment buyers.

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