China: Hong Kong’s opposition pan-democrats plot their next move after defeating reform package | South China Morning Post

When a botched ballot magnified an expected defeat of the government’s electoral reform package with just eight votes in favour on Thursday, pan-democratic lawmakers gathered in a victorious mood to pose for a group photograph, enjoying their moment in history – but only very briefly. Soon after they emerged from the Legislative Council chamber, the pan-democrats sounded a prudent note, vowing to continue fighting for true universal suffrage. Granted, their wish to relaunch the reform exercise for the chief executive election may not come true any time soon, as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said his administration will put aside the process for the remaining two years of his term.

China: Hong Kong Democracy Protesters Take to the Streets Ahead of a Crucial Reform Bill | TIME

Nine months after the Umbrella Revolution began, pro-democracy protesters again took to the streets of Hong Kong to demand a say in the way the city’s leader is elected in polls slated for 2017. A crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 people — workers and families as well as students and democracy activists — marched on Sunday afternoon from Victoria Park, a traditional gathering place for protests, to the legislature buildings downtown. Many carried yellow umbrellas — adopted as the symbol of Hong Kong’s democracy movement after protesters took to carrying them during last year’s unrest to protect themselves from police pepper spray.

Editorials: Should the Poor Be Allowed to Vote? | Peter Reinert/The Atlantic

If Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters succeed in booting C.Y. Leung from power, the city’s unelected chief executive should consider coming to the United States. He might fit in well in the Republican Party. In an interview Monday with The New York Times and other foreign newspapers, Leung explained that Beijing cannot permit the direct election of Hong Kong’s leaders because doing so would empower “the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month.” Leung instead defended the current plan to have a committee of roughly 1,200 eminent citizens vet potential contenders because doing so, in the Times’ words, “would insulate candidates from popular pressure to create a welfare state, and would allow the city government to follow more business-friendly policies.” If that sounds vaguely familiar, it should. Leung’s views about the proper relationship between democracy and economic policy represent a more extreme version of the views supported by many in today’s GOP.

Taiwan: Hong Kong Protests Shaping Taiwan Election Campaign | VoA News

Mass protests against Chinese rule in Hong Kong are shaping election campaigns in Taiwan. Taiwan is self-ruled, but many citizens fear China will govern it someday as it pushes for unification. That has pressured Taiwan’s ruling party and the more anti-China opposition party to make strong statements in favor of Hong Kong’s protesters. As far as relations with China (PRC) are concerned, Taiwan’s local elections in November are pivotal. Wins for the ruling Nationalist Party would help it keep the presidency in 2016 and would signal four more years of engagement with China, which claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island and wants to take it back eventually. Conversely, victories next month and in 2016 for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party could chill ties with China.

China: Hong Kong democracy protests fade, face test of stamina | Reuters

Pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong rolled into early Tuesday with hundreds of students remaining camped out in the heart of the city after more than a week of rallies and behind-the-scenes talks showing modest signs of progress. Student-led protesters early on Monday lifted a blockade of government offices that had been the focal point of their action, initially drawing tens of thousands onto the streets. Civil servants were allowed to pass through the protesters’ barricades unimpeded. Several streets through downtown Hong Kong, which houses offices for international banks, luxury malls and the main stock exchange, remained barricaded and vehicle-free, although pedestrians could walk freely through the area.

China: From Tibet to Taiwan, China’s Periphery Watches Hong Kong Protests Intently | New York Times

As hundreds of protesters continue to occupy the streets of Hong Kong, challenging China’s Communist Party leaders with calls for greater democracy, much of the world anxiously awaits signs of how Beijing will react to their demands. But the anticipation is perhaps most keenly felt along the periphery of China’s far-flung territory, both inside the country and beyond, where the Chinese government’s authoritarian ways have been most apparent. Among Tibetans and Uighurs, beleaguered ethnic minorities in China’s far west, there is hope that the protests will draw international scrutiny to what they say are Beijing’s broken promises for greater autonomy. The central government’s refusal to even talk with pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, exiled activists add, also highlights a longstanding complaint among many ethnic minority groups in China: the party’s reliance on force over dialogue when dealing with politically delicate matters.

China: Hong Kong on Edge as Protests Grow | Wall Street Journal

Pro-democracy protests took on a festive atmosphere Tuesday, a day after police pulled back and the government offered minor concessions, with musicians entertaining the crowds and people decorating the umbrellas they had used to block pepper spray. But protesters worried about the possibility of a crackdown. Tens of thousands of people stretched across Hong Kong Island’s main shopping and business districts and across Victoria Harbour into Kowloon on Monday. Newcomers joined the protests, which took on an air of spontaneity, growing as the day progressed, with marchers walking and sitting on the city’s normally traffic-choked roads.

China: Hong Kong’s Democratic Awakening | Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong police used tear gas Sunday evening to disperse peaceful protesters sitting downtown near government offices. The crowd of perhaps 50,000 quickly regrouped, even more determined to demand that Beijing withdraw a plan for sham democracy in 2017. More than 70 protesters have been arrested so far; police held banners threatening “military force” if the protests continue. The confrontation marks a turning point in the city’s quest for democracy. For years the people of Hong Kong avoided direct conflict with Beijing in the hope that Chinese authorities might be persuaded to grant them self-government. Now they realize that their only chance for democracy is to demand it.

China: Can 17-Year-Old Democracy Protester Joshua Wong Defeat Beijing? | NBC

In his black T-shirt, shorts and flip flops, Joshua Wong could be just another Hong Kong high school student. But the 17-year-old has fast become the bête noire of China’s state media — they have called him an extremist and a buffoon in response to his leadership of student protests demanding greater democracy in the former British colony now ruled by China. “Students and youth have more passion and more power to be involved in this movement,” he told NBC News outside Hong’s Kong’s government buildings where he was protesting this week. “Young people expect more change and they dream to have a better political structure for the future.” Hong Kong is now halfway through a week of student strikes — class boycotts — culminating in a planned walk-out Friday by high school students.

China: Hong Kong voting rights on agenda at UN rights body | The China Post

The United Nations’ human rights body said Wednesday it would take up the issue of voting rights in Hong Kong, where activists are railing against Beijing’s move to vet local candidates. The Human Rights Committee, which monitors respect of an international treaty on civil and political rights, will hold a public session on the thorny issue on Oct. 23, spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssel told AFP. The news follows an announcement by China late last month that Hong Kong’s next leader will be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, dashing hopes for genuine democracy in the former British colony.

China: Democracy in China: The struggle for Hong Kong | The Economist

Chinese officials have called it a “leap forward” for democracy in Hong Kong. Yet their announcement on August 31st of plans to allow, for the first time, every Hong Kong citizen to vote for the territory’s leader has met only anger and indifference. Joy was conspicuously absent. This is not because Hong Kong’s citizens care little for the right to vote, but because China has made it abundantly clear that the next election for Hong Kong’s chief executive, due in 2017, will be rigged. The only candidates allowed to stand will be those approved by the Communist Party in Beijing, half a continent away. At its worst, this risks provoking a disaster which even China cannot want. Democrats are planning protests. It is unclear how many people will join in, but the fear is that the territory’s long history of peaceful campaigning for political reform will give way to skirmishes with police, mass arrests and possibly even intervention by the People’s Liberation Army. That would disrupt one of Asia’s wealthiest and most orderly economies, and set China against the West. But even if, as is likely, such a calamity is avoided, this leap sideways is a huge missed opportunity not just for Hong Kong but also for the mainland. A chance to experiment with the sort of local democracy that might have benefited all of China has been missed.

China: Parliament refuses to give Hong Kong right to choose leaders; protesters vow vengeance | The Washington Post

China’s parliament decided Sunday against letting Hong Kong voters nominate candidates for the 2017 election, despite growing agitation for democratic reform. The move is likely to spark long-promised protests in Hong Kong’s business district, as activists began planning and mobilizing within hours of the announcement. The decision by China’s National People’s Congress essentially allows Communist leaders to weed out any candidates not loyal to Beijing. “It’s not unexpected, but it is still infuriating,” said legislator Emily Lau, chairwoman of the Democratic Party. “This is not what Beijing promised. They’ve lied to the people of Hong Kong. And it’s clear we are dealing with an authoritarian regime.” Defending China’s ruling, Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said allowing public nominations in the election for Hong Kong’s leader would be too “chaotic.”

China: Macau Referendum Organizers Arrested | VoA News

Organizers of a referendum on Macau’s electoral process were arrested over the weekend in a move some say shows China’s nervousness over universal suffrage in the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong. The five arrested included the organizers of the referendum and representatives from local pro-democratic groups Macau Conscience, Macao Youth Dynamics and Open Macau Society. The referendum was to be a week-long informal poll on the electoral system of the city’s Chief Executive post. “Although it is described as a referendum it may well lead to activities that the Chinese government may consider subversive and may even lead to secession, so I think this explains the arrests,” said Simon Young, Associate Dean at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law.

China: Hundreds vote in Macau unofficial referendum on electoral reform despite objection from Beijing | ABC

Activists in the Chinese casino centre Macau have began voting in an unofficial referendum on electoral reform despite strong objections from Beijing. The referendum will run for a week to end on August 30, one day before the Special Administrative Region’s new leader is named by a 400-member committee. The former Portuguese colony returned to Chinese rule in 1999 and has a separate legal system from the mainland. Like Hong Kong, Macau’s leader is known as its chief executive and is chosen by a pro-Beijing electoral committee. “Our goal is to fight for a democratic electoral system and the first stage is to get the citizens informed of the election system,” poll organiser Jason Chao said in the leadup to the event. “We hope that the referendum will be able to serve as a foundation for our fight for democracy in the future.”

China: ‘Referendum’ organisers to extend poll after cyberattacks on electronic voting system | South China Morning Post

Organisers of Occupy Central say they will extend voting on Friday’s “referendum” on electoral reform from three days to 10 days after its electronic system was targeted by hackers. The system, set up to accept advance registrations, has been hit by more than 10 billion cyberattacks since it was launched last week. The civil disobedience movement was not the only victim of the attacks. Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily  – known for its pro-democracy stance – was also brought down by hackers. And the attacks were of the same type – distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) – in which the server of a website is besieged by demands to access the site. Access to the online editions of Apple Daily in Hong Kong and Taiwan  was limited yesterday and it instead relied on content uploaded to social media before  normal service resumed after a 12-hour disruption.

China: Hong Kong Votes for Autonomy – the chief executive gave in to protesters on the election eve | Wall Street Journal

Parents, students, hunger strikers, pop stars and other public figures camped out around Hong Kong government offices last week demanding that the government scrap a requirement that state-funded schools teach children to love the motherland and respect the Communist Party. The confrontation took on a nastier tone, and the crowds swelled, after pro-Beijing media suggested that the protesters were pawns of the American and British governments. This showdown put the current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in an awkward position, since Beijing’s local representatives insisted that the education plan go ahead. He capitulated on the eve of the weekend election of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and announced instead that the classes would no longer be mandatory. (Legco will soon negotiate the system under which the next chief executive will be elected by universal suffrage in 2017). That probably saved pro-Beijing candidates from a disastrous showing, but the controversy still helped pro-democracy candidates win 27 out of 70 seats in the legislature. That’s not as many as they hoped for, but then the convoluted electoral system is rigged against pro-democracy candidates. They garnered almost 60% of the popular vote, up from 57% in 2008, and won 39% of the seats. Most importantly, they have enough votes to block any plans from Beijing to curtail civil liberties. Many of the new lawmakers are more radical than their predecessors.

China: Hong Kong votes in key legislative elections | The Associated Press

Hong Kong voters cast ballots in legislative elections Sunday that will help determine the eventual shape of the full democracy that Beijing has promised the former British colony. The amount of support voters give to pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps will indicate the level of desire for political reform in Hong Kong. Beijing has pledged to allow Hong Kong’s residents to choose their leader by 2017 and all lawmakers by 2020, but no road map has been laid out. Lawmakers elected in Sunday’s polls will help shape the arrangements for those future elections.

China: Sunday’s Election Key in Movement Toward Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong | VoA News

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.

China: Hong Kong voters to face overcrowded field | China Daily

The battle lines are drawn and the parties lined up for fierce fights in Hong Kong’s geographical constituencies where 69 teams of candidates will battle it out for 35 seats. In sharp contrast, 16 out of the 30 original functional seats will be won uncontested. Analysts caution that the sheer immensity of the candidate lists in the city-wide ballot will make it difficult for any team’s second candidate to win the election to the Legislative Council (LegCo). There are five new seats up for grabs, one in each of the five geographical constituencies, increasing the tally to 35. But even with the increase in the number of seats, the field looks distinctly overcrowded as the two-week nomination period ended on Tuesday. In comparison to this year’s 69 candidate lists for 35 seats, only 55 lists competed in the 2008 election in which there were 30 seats available.

China: After ‘Election’, Pro-Democracy Protests Hit Hong Kong | Forbes

Hong Kong just had its new ‘chief executive officer’ — Leung Chun-ying — sworn in during a ceremony on Sunday, while on the island people took to the streets in protest. Leung Chun-ying, of course, was surely not on any ballot. According to Reuters and Agence France Presse reports on the ground in the former British colony of Hong Kong, tens of thousands of protestors filled the streets of the financial district Sunday, saying there was nothing to cheer in their new leader Leung Chun-ying, a millionaire property consultant seen as close to China’s communist rulers.  During the swearing in ceremony with Chinese President Hu Jintao, protesters disrupted a speech with calls for a modern democracy.

China: Online poll in Hong Kong mocked by a million clicks | The Australian

A university website offering ordinary Hong Kongers a chance to vote for their next leader ahead of tomorrow’s election is under “systematic attack” from hackers, organisers said. Thousands of people who do not have the right to vote in the election are expressing their views through the unofficial poll organised by the University of Hong Kong. “The system has been very busy,” Robert Chung, director of the university’s respected Public Opinion Program, said yesterday. “We suspect it is under systematic attack as there are more than one million clicks on our system every second.” Mr Chung did not indicate who could be responsible for the disruption, but his team of pollsters has a history of aggravating mainland authorities with surveys indicating public opinion that is at odds with Beijing’s official line.

China: Hong Kong election poll shot down by DDoS cyber attack | The Register

Two local men have been arrested after an online referendum organised by Hong Kong university to poll citizens on their choice of chief executive was disabled in an apparent denial of service attack. Broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) reported that the men, aged 17 and 28, were arrested at the weekend after the online poll was disrupted for a large part of Friday and some of Saturday. … The system has been very busy,” Robert Chung, director of the university’s program, apparently told reporters. “We suspect it is under systematic attack as there are more than one million clicks on our system every second.” Chung was reportedly reticent about the potential motive for the attack but it is well known that the Chinese authorities are not a massive fan of free speech and probably viewed the referendum as undermining the result of the real vote – the outcome of which Beijing basically controls.

China: Hong Kong Mock Vote Draws 223,000 | WSJ

A mock vote that aimed to give ordinary Hong Kong citizens a voice in today’s chief executive poll drew 223,000 votes despite an earlier cyber attack that hit the ambitious project. The Chinese territory’s top political job will be decided by a 1,200 person election committee Sunday, but that hasn’t stopped many of the city’s seven million residents taking part in the University of Hong Kong’s civil referendum project. Beijing has promised the city universal suffrage by 2017. Over half (54%) posted a blank vote, meaning they wanted neither Hong Kong’s former no. 2, Henry Tang, nor its former cabinet head, Leung Chun-ying, to win. Mr. Leung won 18% of the vote, followed by Mr. Tang at 16% and Albert Ho, who chairs the city’s Democracy Party, at 11%.

China: Hong Kong’s Scandalous Election Too Much For China | WSJ

With less than two weeks to go, Hong Kong is gripped by an unusually colorful brawl for its top political job – but if you lived just across the border, you might not know it. Though Beijing finds both the city’s two frontrunners acceptable, it doesn’t like the unfolding battle of campaign smears, scandals and public criticism, and appears to be silencing reports on the mainland. Media outlets should refrain from “reporting, hyping or discussing” Hong Kong’s Chief Executive election, China’s Central Propaganda Department said last week during the National People’s Congress according to a directive posted (in Chinese) on University of California, Berkeley-based blog China Digital Times. Anything that needs reporting, the directive declared, “must be approved by the Office of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs.”