Hong Kong voters go to the polls Sunday with their government mired in controversy, not least for the attempt this week to force “national education classes” on school children. With more seats in the legislature being decided on the basis of one-person-one-vote, the city’s pro-Beijing administration faces a challenging future as democrats look to make electoral gains before the anticipated introduction of universal suffrage in 2017. Sunday’s election in Hong Kong will see over half of the legislature’s 70 seats returned by universal suffrage, the remainder by generally pro-Beijing groups. The vote is likely to prove a defining moment for the city’s new leader, chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
“Things have been going terribly for him. He is now caught up in this national education controversy,” said China analyst Frank Ching. “He canceled his trip to Russia for the APEC meeting, suggesting he realizes there is a crisis which he must stay to handle. But I do not see him doing anything.” With anti-China sentiment growing in the former British colony, thousands of children and their parents remain camped outside government headquarters, some on a hunger strike.