07/03/2006, 00.00
HONG KONG

Chief executive's silence over universal suffrage comes in for criticism

Some lawmakers criticise Donald Tsang for his attitude towards the July 1 pro-universal suffrage march. More than 58,000 people, 28,000 according to police, participate in the event.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's silence was disrespectful to tens of thousands of people who yesterday demonstrated in support of universal suffrage, this according to some members of Hong Kong Legislative Council. The lawmakers vowed to grill Mr Tsang during his question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council next Monday if he continued to shy away from the issue like his predecessor, Tung Chee-hwa, did after the July 1 march in 2003.

"Mr Tsang should give a formal response. He should see for himself that nearly 60,000 people turned out in what he described as a harmonious society," said Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah.

Last night, Anson Chan Fang On-sang, chief secretary in the last British colonial administration, who stole the limelight at the march, said she was happy with the turnout. She declined to comment further, saying only that she would have something to tell the public within the next few days. Many hope she will announce her candidacy to the post of chief executive

The march was a success under the banner of "Justice, Equality, Democracy". Independent estimates put the number at around 58,000 compared to 28,000 by the police.

During the rally, organisers stressed that they did not seek a direct confrontation with Beijing or the Hong Kong government, but only the implementation of Deng Xiaoping's principle of "one country, two systems".

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