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    » 03/07/2014, 00.00

    CHINA - HONG KONG

    Beijing threatens Hong Kong, saying democracy will only bring disaster



    For the chairman of China's National People's Congress, "some people were waving the banner of universal suffrage to undermine stability in Hong Kong." Journalists and human rights activists slam Beijing's interference in the city's affairs.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The people of Hong Kong could face "disastrous" consequences if it adopts full democracy based on foreign models. Instead, Hong Kong must carry out democratic reform based on its own laws, warned Zhang Dejiang, chairman of China's National People's Congress (NPC), amid intense political debate on elections for the chief executive of the former British colony in 2017

    At present, Hong Kong's government is governed by the Basic Law, which was adopted before the former's British crown colony returned to mainland China in 1997, and which will remain in force until 2047.

    Under the law, elections to the Legislative Council require a complicated series of steps that ensure a large number of seats for functional constituencies, which are close to the mainland.

    By contrast, civil society groups, the Catholic Church and other religious denominations have long been calling for the adoption of universal suffrage.

    Never granted under British rule, universal suffrage has been blocked since 1997 by China, which does not want to lose political control.

    The 'Occupy Central' movement (pictured) has emerged to protest against this situation. It aims at putting pressure on the Hong Kong government through peaceful protests to implement full democracy in the territory.

    According to Hong Kong NPC delegate Rita Fan, chairman Zhang considers the "Occupy Central" movement as the mainland's greatest enemy.

    Zhang "said some people were waving the banner of universal suffrage to undermine stability in Hong Kong." For him, "This won't help the cause of universal suffrage,"

    Indeed, Beijing's meddling in Hong Kong's affairs seems to be steadily increasing.

    Although the city is governed by the rule of law, economic and political pressure from mainland China has risen since the great rally of 1 July 2003, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against a proposed anti-subversion bill inspired by Communist policies.

    Hong Kong authorities later withdrew the draft proposal, but since then journalists and human rights activists have complained that Beijing has been tightening its control over the city. 

     

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    See also

    02/12/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Occupy Central leaders to surrender to police, Card Zen to join them
    It is unclear whether police will take them into custody or let them go. Occupy leaders call on students to stop their sit-ins and, to pre-empt frustrations and violent, urge them to develop alternative ways to continue the struggle. As the University Student Federation pledges to escalate protests, Scholarism's young leader Joshua Wong goes on a hunger strike.

    23/08/2007 HONG KONG – CHINA
    Pro-democracy group invites UN panel in Hong Kong to discuss universal suffrage
    Hong Kong activists and politicians invite UNHRC representatives to a debate on how to move "from universal suffering to universal suffrage".

    05/07/2007 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Mainland tourists think that calling for democracy is patriotic
    A survey among mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong commissioned by the Territory’s Democratic Party indicates that a majority believes local support for democracy reflects their patriotism and that residents are ready for universal suffrage.

    01/06/2015 HONG KONG – CHINA
    Hong Kong’s pan-democrats united against Beijing’s reforms
    After a long meeting with representatives from mainland China, Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers announced they would veto plans for political reform that fails to grant real universal suffrage. The vote is expected in June.

    02/12/2005 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong's people urged to turn out in force for democracy rally

    Pro-democracy lawmakers say the pro-universal suffrage rally is a "unique event". Among participants is a former delegate of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.





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