Hundreds of students converged on a university campus in Hong Kong on Monday, launching a week-long boycott of classes in protest against Beijing's decision to rule out fully democratic elections in the former British colony.
Students from more than 20 universities and colleges streamed into the grounds of picturesque, bay-side Chinese University, where they were greeted by banners that said: "The boycott must happen. Disobey and grasp your destiny."
Some sat in a circle playing guitars in temperatures close to 30 degrees Celsius, while others folded leaflets urging students to boycott classes.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with a high degree of autonomy, but Beijing's rejection of the right to freely choose the city's next leader has prompted threats from activists to shut down the Central finance district as part of their pro-democracy campaign.
Many of the students were dressed in white and wearing yellow ribbons.
"I believe on August 31, when the National People's Congress made their decision, it crushed the dreams of some Hong Kong people who have been fighting hard for democracy for the past 30 years," said third-year student Hong Yuen, referring to Beijing's decision to rule out full democracy.
Leading academics in Hong Kong have voiced support for the boycott, with some offering to record lectures and post them online for students who miss school to watch later.
The boycott is being organised by groups such as the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism.
The class boycott coincides with a trip to Beijing by some of Hong Kong's most powerful business tycoons where they are expected to discuss Hong Kong politics with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
A survey by the Chinese University showed more than a fifth of Hong Kong residents are considering leaving the city, spurred by concerns over its political future.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule with freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland under a policy of "one country, two systems". China is terrified those calls will spread to mainland cities, threatening the Communist Party's grip on power.