Pro-government crowds march in HK

Julie Zhu, Mark Wembridge, Tom Mitchell | 17 August 2014 | Financial Times

Hong Kong’s business district has again come to a standstill, as supporters of the pro-establishment, anti-Occupy Central movement took to the streets to add their voices to the city’s summer of political discontent.

The rally on Sunday was the latest in a series of retaliatory protests between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy groups, in a political battle over how the promise of universal suffrage will be delivered to the former British colony.

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Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations are no farce

David Pilling | 25 June 2014 | Financial Times

Ever since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 by British colonisers, an unresolved question has hung like smog over the city. Would it eventually be able to elect its representatives?

Hong Kong’s “mini-constitution” states the ultimate aim is for the city to choose its leadership by universal suffrage, not a bad concession given its decidedly undemocratic history under British rule. Beijing subsequently agreed in principle to the idea that Hong Kong’s mayor, known as the chief executive, could be popularly elected in 2017, and its Legislative Council in 2020. Yet what Beijing means by “universal suffrage” and what democracy advocates in Hong Kong mean by it are – surprise, surprise – not the same thing. The gap in interpretation threatens to put Beijing and Hong Kong on a dangerous collision course.


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Beijing’s Catch-22

Mark C. Eades | 25 June 2014 | Financial Times

A 10-day unofficial pro-democracy referendum opened in Hong Kong on June 20, attracting higher-than-expected turnout and angering China’s central government in Beijing. Organized by pro-democracy group Occupy Central, the referendum offers voters a choice of three reform plans for the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive, all of which include public nomination of candidates, an idea rejected by Beijing. Despite massive cyberattacks blamed on mainland China, more than 700,000 online and in-person voters cast ballots in the first three days of voting.

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Former Hong Kong official says UK failing to defend democracy

Demetri Sevastopulo, Kiran Stacey | 22 June 2014 | Financial Times

Anson Chan, the number two official in Hong Kong when the UK handed the colony back to China in 1997, has criticised British prime minister David Cameron for failing to stand up for democracy in the territory.

Mrs Chan, the former chief secretary, said Mr Cameron had neglected to voice support for Hong Kong when he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last week. Their meeting took place amid a fierce debate in Hong Kong over relations with China following Beijing’s recent publication of a controversial white paper suggesting there were limits to the territory’s democracy.

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