For 79 days last year, thousands of protesters occupied major roads in Hong Kong in an attempt to force Chinese authorities to grant the territory genuine democracy. They failed. Local leaders and their overlords in Beijing refused to negotiate over an electoral plan that would allow for a popular vote for Hong Kong’s next leader but would limit candidates to nominees approved by the Communist regime. That left opposition representatives in Hong Kong’s legislature with an unappealing choice this month: Sign off on the inadequate reform or block it at the risk of freezing the current, even less democratic, system in place. “To kowtow, or to veto,” was the way opposition leader Alan Leong summed up the dilemma.
In the end, the opposition voted down the electoral system, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass the legislative council. The rebuff to the regime was amplified when pro-Beijing legislators walked out in a failed attempt to delay the vote; the final tally was 28 to 8. It was a moral victory for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, which has made clear it won’t accept China’s attempt to gut its promise to allow universal suffrage.
In the short term, the practical result may be to leave Hong Kong with an election system that limits voting to a Beijing-controlled committee. The territory’s unpopular current leader, Leung Chun-ying, who was chosen that way, ruled out further political concessions during the two years remaining in his term. That’s consistent with the policy of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who has cracked down on dissent and rejected political liberalization since taking power in 2012.
Full Article: China’s plans for Hong Kong backfire – The Washington Post.