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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora