News / Asia

Hong Kong Civic Group Pushes for Voting Rights

Hong Kong Civic Group Demand Universal Suffrage for 2017i
X
Rebecca Valli
May 09, 2014 2:11 PM
Hong Kong’s election for its next chief executive is not until 2017, but debate is already heating up over how much power voters will wield. With Beijing backing plans for a “nominating committee” to decide which candidates are eligible to run, one civic group is pushing for universal suffrage. Rebecca Valli has more in Hong Kong.
VIDEO: Hong Kong’s election for its next chief executive is not until 2017, but debate is already heating up over how much power voters will wield. Rebecca Valli has more.
Hong Kong’s election for its next chief executive is not until 2017, but debate is already heating up over how much power voters will wield.

With Beijing backing plans for a “nominating committee” to decide which candidates are eligible to run, one civic group, “Occupy Central with Love and Peace,” (OCLP) is pushing for universal suffrage.

“This is a democratic movement, we want people from different communities to get involved in the whole process," said Kinman Chan, one of the group's organizers. "So that's why we have held several deliberation days for people to understand the importance of democracy in Hong Kong and then to discuss about different reform proposals in time.”

OCLP proposes three options for the vote, all of which include so-called “civil nomination,” which would allow voters to choose any candidate.

Some of the group's supporters say the idea challenges the city-state’s mini constitution, or Basic Law, which says candidates must be chosen by a “broadly representative nominating committee,” not the public.

Beijing officials have also spoken against civil nomination, insisting that any electoral reform must comply with the Basic Law.

Political commentator Albert Cheng says the proposal is controversial even among some of Hong Kong’s pan-democrats, who believe it is too radical.

“They are thinking about the practical thing, they will try to find a solution that compromises with the central government,” he said.

According to some people in Hong Kong's downtown central district, while they do not know specifics details about OCLP as an organization, they nonetheless sympathize with the movement.

“Civil nomination is our right," said Xiong Baiji, an IT technician who works in the area. "We want to exercise that right so we can pick the candidates we want. If the Basic Law does not allow it, then we can revise the Basic Law.”

For design student He Yingxin, although OCLP might prove politically disruptive, it's for the better.

“In the discussion before any decision is made there might be some disorder and confusion. That is a necessary phase," she said. "But it is possible that after Occupy Central carries out its activities, Hong Kong will have a better future.”

OCLP has pledged to block streets of the city center in July if the election rules chosen by Hong Kong authorities turn out to be against international norms of universal suffrage.

Chinese officials say the Occupy movement damages the stability of Hong Kong, and Beijing is ready to help maintain order with troops should the disobedience get out of hand.

“I believe it is just a politics of fear," said Chan the organizer, adding that officials aim to intimidate supporters. "They understand very clearly it is not a movement to overthrow the government or try to bring own the regime in Beijing. No way we can do that.”

Political movements in Hong Kong have a record of bringing thousands of people to the streets and remain peaceful, Chan said, adding that Occupy Central will not be an exception to that norm.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs