‘Let 1.3 Billion Vote’

David Wertime | 24 June 2014 | Foreign Policy

Democracy, meet the smart phone. Starting June 20, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers have gone to virtual polls, infuriating Beijing. Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP), a protest group that advocates election of the nominally autonomous Chinese city’s chief executive via universal suffrage, held a combined online and offline vote on Hong Kong’s future from June 20 to 29 that OCLP claimed has drawn over 738,000 electronic ballots so far, most via mobile app. The electronic ballot, which requires entry of a Hong Kong ID number, phone number, and a confirmation the voter is a permanent resident, allows the choice between three revisions to Hong Kong election rules, rather than the current system that cedes significant power to industry groups called “functional constituencies,” which the mainland government supports. Chinese state media promptly went on the offensive against the nonbinding vote, but online response from mainlanders shows just how much of a stitch Beijing is in.

Continue Reading…

Congressional-Executive Commission on China: Prospects for Democracy and Press Freedom in Hong Kong

3 April 2014 | Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Under China’s “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong residents enjoy greater freedom and autonomy than people in mainland China, including freedoms of speech, press, and religion. China has stated it intends to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their Chief Executive by universal suffrage for the first time in 2017 and to elect Hong Kong’s Legislative Council by universal suffrage in 2020. As Hong Kong’s government contemplates electoral reform in the run-up to the 2017 election, concerns are growing that China’s central government will attempt to control the election by allowing only pro-Beijing candidates to run for Chief Executive. Concerns over press freedom have also grown in the wake of several incidents in which journalists have been violently attacked or fired.

The roundtable featured two prominent advocates for Hong Kong democracy, Martin Lee and Anson Chan, who examined the prospects for Hong Kong’s democratic development.


United States Department of State: 2013 Human Rights Reports: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Hong Kong

27 February 2014 | United States Department of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

The most important human rights problems reported were the limited ability of citizens to participate in and change their government, reports of arbitrary arrest or detention and other aggressive police tactics hampering the freedom of assembly, and a legislature with limited powers in which certain sectors of society wielded disproportionate political influence.

Continue reading…

Congressional-Executive Commission on China: Annual Report 2013: Developments in Hong Kong and Macau

10 October 2013 | Congressional-Executive Commission on China

“Public demand grew for a more specific plan for election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive (CE) through universal suffrage, which is set to occur in 2017. In July 2013, Hong Kong’s current CE, CY Leung, dismissed calls for early public consultation on electoral reform.”

“Concerns also grew over central government interference in the nomination of CE candidates in elections by universal suffrage, with statements from mainland Chinese officials ruling out a nominating process involving the broader voting public and stating that candidates would be required to be trusted by the central government.”

Continue reading…


Hugo Swire: People must have a genuine choice in the 2017 chief executive election

Hugo Swire | 14 September 2013 | South China Morning Post

Hugo Swire says the transition to universal suffrage can ensure Hong Kong’s stability, and it is vital that people have a genuine choice in 2017.

Hugo Swire is UK Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Continue reading…