Night and Day: The Difference Between Hong Kong Rallies

19 August 2014 | Wall Street Journal

A pro-Beijing rally was held Sunday in Hong Kong to counter the city’s July 1 pro-democracy rally. Local police estimated that 110,600 people attended the pro-Beijing rally at its peak, compared with 66,000 for the pro-democracy rally. But University of Hong Kong researchers came to the opposite conclusion, estimating an attendance of between 79,000 and 88,000 on Sunday, and between 154,000 and 172,000 on July 1.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 5.28.50 pm

Continue reading…

Hong Kong’s Pro-Beijing Crowd Occupies Itself With Own March

17 Aug 2014 | Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong’s pro-establishment groups staged a march of their own Sunday opposing Occupy Central, a democratic activist group threatening mass civil disobedience if the Beijing government does not offer the city genuine choice in their next election for Chief Executive, the city’s top leader.

The rally, dubbed a “march for peace,” was meant to overshadow this year’s July 1 pro-democracy march, which drew hundreds of thousands of people. But when the march officially began at 3 p.m. Sunday, about half of Victoria Park, the march’s starting point, was empty and littered with stickers opposing Occupy Central and plastic flowers, handed out to participants in order to keep count of how many attended.

Continue reading…

Hong Kong Demands Democracy

23 June 2014 | Wall Street Journal

China this week is in the midst of a historic democratic experiment—unofficially, that is, and outside the mainland. Since Friday nearly 750,000 Hong Kong residents have voted in a referendum signaling their anger at Beijing for continuing to deny democracy to the territory 17 years after assuming sovereignty from the British. Despite weeks of escalating intimidation from Beijing, turnout is far exceeding expectations and may presage public protests.

The vote, sponsored by a pro-democracy coalition known as Occupy Central with Love and Peace, runs online and at polling places through June 29. It allows Hong Kong’s 7.2 million people, including some 3.5 million registered voters, to weigh in on the crux of the democracy issue: Who should be able to run for chief executive in 2017?

Continue Reading…

Chinese Paper Mocks Hong Kong Poll on Elections

Chester Yung, Paul Mozur | 23 June 2014 | Wall Street Journal

A newspaper backed by the Chinese Communist Party on Monday ridiculed an unofficial Hong Kong referendum on allowing more democracy that has drawn more than 700,000 votes in four days.

The mock referendum, which has no legal standing, centers on whether residents should be able to directly nominate candidates other than those approved by Beijing in 2017 elections. The Global Times, a tabloid run by the party’s official People’s Daily newspaper, published an editorial criticizing the referendum, saying it would be “ridiculous” to let the “illegal” poll decide Hong Kong’s fate.


Continue Reading…

Big Banks Kowtow to Beijing

L. Gordon Crovitz | 22 June 2014 | Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong has ranked No. 1 every year over the two decades the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal have issued their Index of Economic Freedom. But now the city’s political overlords in Beijing are doing all they can to end that winning streak—with the collaboration of Hong Kong’s top banks.

Once dismissed as a barren rock, Hong Kong became a prosperous financial center thanks to its free flow of information, English legal system and millions of hardworking immigrants from mainland China. When Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, Hong Kong’s people were promised 50 years of “one country, two systems” and elections. China now worries that the island’s freedom will spread to the mainland.

Continue Reading…

Hong Kong Ex-Governor: To Resist Elections Is ‘Spitting in The Wind’

Natasha Brereton-Fukui | 11 November 2013 | Wall Street Journal

Any erosion of Hong Kong’s economic independence could not only threaten its desirability as an international financial center but hurt China as well, the last governor of the former British colony said in an interview, adding it was inevitable that the authorities would have to give residents greater sway over how the territory is run.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal during a trip to Singapore, Chris Patten – who governed Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997 – said the core challenge for Hong Kong had always been to combine its openness with the Chinese success story.

“The only thing [Hong Kong] doesn’t have is the right to elect its own government, and sooner or later it will have, because you can’t give people control over all the economic and social decisions in their lives but not allow them to determine who collects their rubbish or how their children should be educated or how their health service should be run,” Lord Patten said. “Anybody who tries to resist that is, I think, spitting in the wind.”

Continue reading…