More than 780,000 votes were cast by Sunday, the final day of an unofficial referendum on how Hong Kong’s next leader should be chosen. The ballot has been branded illegal by local and mainland Chinese authorities. Hong Kong, a free-wheeling, capitalist hub of more than 7 million people, returned to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, with wide-ranging autonomy under a “one country, two systems” formula, along with an undated promise of universal suffrage. China has promised to let all Hong Kong residents vote for their next leader in 2017. But it said candidates must be approved by a nomination committee.
Pro-democracy advocates are incensed at current plans for the election of Hong Kong’s next chief executive – who is currently appointed by a 1,200-strong pro-Beijing committee. Tensions are running high in the former British colony before the anniversary of its handover to China, a traditional day of protest.
Organizers of Tuesday’s rally expect it to be the largest since the handover with upwards of 500,000 people expected, as frustration grows over Beijing’s tightening control over the city. “Public sentiment has dropped to the lowest point since 2003. I believe more people will come out,” Johnson Yeung, one of the organizers, told AFP.
Full Article: Hong Kong Ends Voting in Referendum, Readies for Rally.