08/25/2014, 00.00
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As mainland officials to discuss Hong Kong's future, Occupy Central prepares "waves" of protests

by Wang Zhicheng
The National People's Congress Standing Committee is set to decide during a weeklong meeting how to pick the next chief executive. Pro-democracy advocates want universal suffrage; Beijing wants a committee to vet candidates, who must be "patriotic" and not opposed to the central government. The Occupy Central movement of the police are preparing for the demonstrations.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The National People's Congress Standing Committee kicks off a weeklong meeting today to evaluate how to elect Hong Kong's chief executive.

Hong Kong residents have been calling for quite some time for full democracy and universal suffrage in parliamentary and chief executive elections.

The Occupy Central movement plans to back universal suffrage through "wave after wave" of struggle if Beijing does not meet to the needs of the people of Hong Kong.

A few months ago, the movement organised a referendum on democracy, which saw the participation of no less than 800,000 people.

The election for the next chief executive is set for 2017. Mainland China has pledged that full democracy would be in place by then in the Autonomous Region.

Until now, only half of the seats in parliament are elected by a popular vote, whilst the chief executive is picked by a 1,200-member committee representing sectors of society and business, co-opted by the government of Hong Kong and China.

At the heart of the row, however, is whether Beijing will require candidates elected by universal suffrage to the position of chief executive to obtain support from more than 50 per cent of a nominating committee in order to get his or her name on the ballot.

Most expect that committee to be made up of pro-Beijing businessmen and individuals, thereby giving mainland authorities an effective veto over candidates.

In recent weeks, Beijing said that any candidate for office must be "patriotic" and not oppose the central government of China.

Occupy Central members plans "wave after wave of struggle", pledging to hold a sit-in of 10,000 protesters in the territory's business district if it views the ruling from Beijing as inadequate.

Police said that it would keep the situation under control by deploying 28,000 officers.

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