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    » 06/09/2014, 00.00


    Card Zen on 84 hour march for democracy referendum in Hong Kong

    Paul Wang

    The Referendum (unofficial) will be held on 20-22 June. Catholic groups will accompany Card. Zen. March made even more difficult by soaring seasonal temperatures. Support of Card. Tong. Zhou Nan, former Xinhua director, calls for Chinese military intervention to prevent Occupy Central proclaiming the territory’s independence.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, Card. Joseph Zen has decided to march for 84 hours around the territory in an attempt to harness citizens' participation in an unofficial referendum that calls for full democracy in Hong Kong and universal suffrage for the election of governor in 2017.

    The referendum was proposed by Occupy Central, a civil disobedience movement, which has occupied an area of the City, close to the Houses of Parliament and the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank for months.

    The referendum aims to prove that the majority of the population of the former colony want a real democracy and will be held June 20 to 22. At present only half of Hong Kong's parliament is elected by popular ballot; The governor is elected by a committee dominated by Beijing. Years ago, Beijing had promised that "maybe" in 2017 full democracy would be implemented for Hong Kong, but at the moment all reform appear frozen, although the Basic Law (Hong Kong's mini-constitution, signed by Beijing) allows for the discussion of full democracy from 2007.

    An advert in the Catholic paper Kung Kao Po said that starting from Saturday, Card. Zen would embark on a seven-day campaign to march in most of the city's 18 districts in order to call for Hongkongers to vote in the "referendum". Zen is expected to walk for about 12 hours and cover 20km a day. Catholic groups have agreed to accompany him. The march will be very difficult mainly because the cardinal is now 82 and current temperatures in Hong Kong are about 32 degrees Celsius, with very high levels of humidity.

    The struggle for democracy in the region is also supported by the other cardinal, John Tong, the current bishop of Hong Kong, even if more discreetly. In an article in Kung Kaopo (May 26), he states that a democratic system of government is a necessary condition for the well-being of Hong Kong's population. He hopes that with a genuine dialogue, a system for the nomination of candidates and the Chief Executive based on effective democratic mechanisms can be established. For Card. Tong, the referendum "can give concrete expression to public opinion."

    The strong demand for a plan for democratic elections in 2017 has however, aroused the wrath of Zhou Nan, former director of the Xinhua office in Hong Kong. In recent days he has accused "anti-China forces" of using the Occupy Central movement £to try to seize control of Hong Kong's administration and that the Chinese army would step in if riots were to occur in the city.

    Yesterday, Zhou Nan received an indirect reply from the Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, who said that "the police [Hong Kong] are capable of managing any activities that might damage law and order "and that there is no need to call in the Chinese army.



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    See also

    29/09/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Card. Tong: Enough violence in Central, government must put the people first
    An "Urgent Appeal" from the bishop of the Territory to the executive: "Exercise restraint in deployment of force with a view to listening to the voice of the younger generation and of citizens from all walks of life”. Card. Joseph Zen, is on the streets with Occupy Central.

    30/06/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong's democracy referendum makes history
    The unofficial poll attracts 800,000 voters. The Alliance for True Democracy, which supports universal suffrage, wins. Its "three track" proposal would also allow the public, the nominating committee, as well as political parties, to put forward candidates. For organisers, the vote "was the largest scale of expression of public opinion in the city's history."

    03/03/2010 HONG KONG
    Card. Zen advertises in the press: Vote for Justice and Democracy
    Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong appears is in a full page ad in his clerics and in a signed message calls for participation in the elections that have been transformed into a "referendum on democracy." The wrath of Beijing.

    13/06/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Card. Zen and Democrats urge participation in referendum. Protests against Beijing's "White Paper"
    For the cardinal, participating in the referendum is a way to express the dignity of Hong Kong's people, against those who want to repress or enslave them. The Democrats cancel a meeting with Beijing's representative in the Territory. The White Paper states that Beijing's authority is more important than Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy" promised by the Basic Law. Judges also have to be submitted as "patriotic administrators." Demonstrators accuse Beijing of considering the Basic Law "waste paper" or "toilet paper".

    30/09/2014 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong Chief Executive calls for immediate end to protests. Occupy Central calls for his resignation
    Day three of Occupy Central. Sit-ins extend to Yau Ma Tei and Des Voeux Road. Schools are still closed; 37 banks are closed. There is growing solidarity among population towards the demonstrators. Yesterday evening, tens of thousands of people were in the street. Last night in Mong Kok, a speeding car tried to crash into some of the demonstrators. Many commuters accept transport difficulties because they share the ideals of democracy. "Proud" to be Hong Kongers.

    Editor's choices

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    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

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