07/03/2012, 00.00
HONG KONG
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Leung meets citizenry, but flees under police escort

Hong Kong's new, Beijing-backed chief executive finds little favour among the territory's residents. Yesterday, he spoke at a community centre in Tuen Mun for more than an hour, but pro-democracy activists stormed the venue to protest his politics and the erosion of human rights in the territory, forcing him to make a hasty retreat.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Hong Kong's new Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was forced to abandon a town hall meeting last night. The Beijing-backed leader, who finds little favour among ordinary Hong Kongers, was forced to make a hasty exit under heavy police escort after pro-democracy activists stormed his meet-the-public session in Tuen Mun last night to protest against his presence and the erosion of human rights in the territory.

Leung was bundled into a car and driven away after being trapped for almost an hour at the On Ting Yau Oi Community Centre in Tuen Mun, after it was mobbed by dozens of activists.

Without warning, a woman appeared behind Leung who was sitting with the meeting's moderator Lau Wong-fat, chairman of Tuen Mun District Council, raising a placard that read 'Acting'. Some 10 activists stood up, shouting that Leung was "staging political shows".  After a while, Leung was bundled into a car and driven away after it was briefly surrounded by protesters.

Yesterday's was the last of a six-district tour. The other five meetings were held in Shau Kei Wan, Tseung Kwan O, Kwai Chung, Kwun Tong, and Tai Kok Tsui. Their purpose was to drum up support for the new chief.

"Such meetings with residents used to be hosted by district officers, not pro-government figures. It is in effect inviting pan-democrats to go to protest," a source familiar with the arrangements said.

On Sunday, almost 400,000 people took to the streets in the former British colony to protest Hu Jintao's visit and against Leung's election by an elitist election committee rather than voters. Since 1997, Hong Kongers have been waiting for universal suffrage.

During the rally, participants also called on Chinese authorities to shed light on the death of Li Wangyang, a dissident who took part in the 1989 Tiananmen protest who recently died under police guard. They also called for full democracy in the territory as various appeals were presented in favour of democracy and the rule of law.

 

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