Q. and A.: Michael C. Davis on the Battle Over Hong Kong’s Future

Chris Buckley | 19 June 2014 | New York Times

Hong Kong is undergoing deepening tensions over its political future as a self-governed territory under Chinese sovereignty. Democratic activists have demanded that residents win the right to elect Hong Kong’s top leader, called the chief executive, without procedures that would ensure that only candidates approved by Beijing appear on the ballot. Many of the activists have endorsed Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a movement whose members have said they will stage civil disobedience protests in the city’s financial heart if electoral reform plans proposed by the Hong Kong government and Beijing, possibly later this year, do not meet their criteria for universal suffrage.

Starting Friday, Occupy Central will hold an unofficial referendum giving residents a choice of rival plans for voting procedures, and it plans later to support a similar vote pitting the winning proposal against the government’s proposal. Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party has been attempting to consolidate its influence over Hong Kong and is worried about the ferment of opposition, as are pro-establishment politicians and business groups in the city. In an interview, Michael C. Davis, a professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, explained what is at stake:

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