In a meeting with Hong Kong’s pro-democratic legislators a few weeks ago, a group of European diplomats urged them to support something they had campaigned against for months: a plan, backed by Beijing, to let the public elect Hong Kong’s top official. Even though those elections would be restricted to candidates approved by a pro-Beijing committee — a poison pill for the pro-democracy leaders — several of the diplomats, through pointed questions to the lawmakers, argued that some democracy was better than none, according to people who were there. “I phrased the question in such a way as they could understand that they should vote for it,” said a Western diplomat who attended the June 3 meeting, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to talk freely without seeking higher approval. “Some of us were advocating that it may be better to vote yes and take it.”Full Article: With Beijing’s Voting Plan Dead, Hong Kong Looks for Way Forward - The New York Times.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong's opposition pan-democrats plot their next move after defeating reform package | South China Morning Post.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong Democracy Protesters Take to the Streets Ahead of a Crucial Reform Bill | TIME.
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.Full Article: Should the Poor Be Allowed to Vote? - The Atlantic.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong Protests Shaping Taiwan Election Campaign.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong democracy protests fade, face test of stamina | Reuters.
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.Full Article: From Tibet to Taiwan, China’s Periphery Watches Hong Kong Protests Intently - NYTimes.com.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong on Edge as Protests Grow - WSJ.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong's Democratic Awakening - WSJ.
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.Full Article: Can 17-Year-Old Democracy Protester Joshua Wong Defeat Beijing? - NBC News.com.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong voting rights on agenda at UN rights body - The China Post.
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.Full Article: Democracy in China: The struggle for Hong Kong | The Economist.
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.”Full Article: China refuses to give Hong Kong right to choose leaders; protesters vow vengeance - The Washington Post.
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.Full Article: Macau Referendum Organizers Arrested.
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.”Full Article: Hundreds vote in Macau unofficial referendum on electoral reform despite objection from Beijing - Australia Network News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
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.Full Article: 'Referendum' organisers to extend poll after cyberattacks on electronic voting system | South China Morning Post.
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.Full Article: Review & Outlook: Hong Kong Votes for Autonomy - WSJ.com.
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.Full Article: Hong Kong votes in key legislative elections - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source.
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.Full Article: Sunday's Election Key in Movement Toward Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong.
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.Full Article: Voters to face overcrowded field|Top News|chinadaily.com.cn.