12/27/2007, 00.00
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NPC in Beijing to decide the future of elections in Hong Kong

A Hong Kong lawmaker is arrested and expelled back to the territory. He wanted to bring to Beijing a petition in favour of a quick adoption of universal suffrage for 2012. Members of China’s National People’s Congress “warn” Hong Kong residents to accept Beijing’s decisions without strikes and demonstrations.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Leung Kwok-hung, a Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker, was arrested for crossing the border with the mainland without a permit. Mr Leung and three other pro-democracy activists planned to reach Beijing to hand in a petition calling for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Leung, who is known for his long hair and his anti-conformist behaviour, carried banners and petitions that were confiscated. Only one of the four, Law Chun, had a valid travel permit and was allowed to continue to Beijing.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) has been in session for the past four days in order to evaluate possible political reforms to the institutions of the former British colony.

A draft resolution was made available to lawmakers yesterday on the methods of electing Hong Kong's chief executive and legislature in 2012 and on issues concerning universal suffrage.

The NPC is also examining Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's report on political reform

In Honk Kong there is overwhelming support for universal suffrage and the direct election of the territory’s chief executive. Hong Kong’s La Basic Law provides for that possibility as early as this year, but Beijing has grabbed the power to decide Hong Kong’s future.

In his report released a few weeks ago, Donald Tsang acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of Hong Kongers want full democracy by 2012 but he proposes 2017 as an acceptable date, perhaps under Beijing’s prodding.

The Chinese government remains quite concerned that the pro-democracy movement in the former colony might spread to the mainland.

Some NPC lawmakers have warned the people of Hong Kong that responding to NPC proposals with strikes or demonstrations would “not benefit Hong Kong.”

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