The struggle for Hong Kong

6 Sept 2014 | The Economist

The territory’s citizens must not give up demanding full democracy—for their sake and for China’s

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.

Continue reading…

Advertisements

Pro-China demonstration in Hong Kong

Banyan | 18 August 2014 | The Economist

NOWHERE in the world, it seems, are demonstrators so hard to count as in Hong Kong. This was true even under British rule. Under Chinese sovereignty since 1997, Hong Kong’s arithmetic has got even harder. When untold thousands took to the streets on July 1st for what has become an annual march demanding full democracy for the special administrative region of China, the police estimated 98,600 people took part. The organisers reckoned more than five times as many braved the heat to raise their voices against the local government.

In comparison the estimates of attendance at the “pro-China” demonstration on August 17th are in a rather tighter range: 111,000, said the police; 193,000 the organisers. The police of course work for the government, and that the Hong Kong government is itself “pro-China”. But in this case, other complexities entered the calculations: how many of the protesters were genuine?  How many took to the streets because they had been paid to do so? (The sizeable South Asian contingent, for example, seem unlikely to have been donating their day off for the cause.) How many were treated to lunch or “encouraged” by their employers to take part? And how many were mainland tourists, on what must have seemed an unusual coach tour?

Continue Reading…

Poles apart

18 August 2014 | The Economist

NOWHERE in the world, it seems, are demonstrators so hard to count as in Hong Kong. This was true even under British rule. Under Chinese sovereignty since 1997, Hong Kong’s arithmetic has got even harder. When untold thousands took to the streets on July 1st for what has become an annual march demanding full democracy for the special administrative region of China, the police estimated 98,600 people took part. The organisers reckoned more than five times as many braved the heat to raise their voices against the local government.

Continue reading…