News / Asia

Hong Kong Democracy Movement Defiant Over Free Elections

Pro-democracy protesters switch on their mobile phones during a campaign to kick off the Occupy Central civil disobedience event in front of the financial Central district in Hong Kong, Aug. 31, 2014.
Pro-democracy protesters switch on their mobile phones during a campaign to kick off the Occupy Central civil disobedience event in front of the financial Central district in Hong Kong, Aug. 31, 2014.
VOA News

Hong Kong's pro-democracy protest movement is vowing to not back down in its fight for free elections, a day after apparently conceding defeat to Beijing.

Occupy Central leaders admitted Tuesday that support from Hong Kong's people is waning. But Wednesday, pro-democracy supporters continued to rally for support.

Albert Ho, a legislator from the Democratic Party, said he thinks Hong Kong's people will rise to the challenge and fight for genuine universal suffrage.

“While Beijing’s decision makes some people very disappointed, those people who are going to Occupy Central have been ready for the worst," he said. "Meanwhile, Beijing's attitude towards dealing this issue also makes some people very angry. So I believe when the time comes the number of participants will not be less than the number we anticipated.”

Demonstration critics

Not all Hong Kong residents are happy, however, with the movement.

Lian Jinghan, an official with HK Fuchang Stocks and Securities, told VOA the vast majority of Hong Kong business people are opposed to gaining political capital through radical protest actions.

“Most of us, or from myself and the company's point of view, are not in favor of the Occupy Central movement, because this action is illegal in Hong Kong. In addition to the legal problems, what they are asking for is not very realistic. If the Occupy Central does occur, the impact will be negative on Hong Kong's overall economic environment and Hong Kong’s overall development,” said  Lian Jinghan.

The group has for months threatened to shut down Hong Kong's central financial district if China does not agree to allow universal suffrage in the 2017 election for the territory's chief executive.

On Sunday, China's parliament passed legislation essentially requiring all candidates to be approved by Beijing.

Occupy leaders responded by saying the group will hold a mass protest in the coming days, but no date or place will be given because of fears this may cause disruptions to the plan.

'Spirit of resistance'

Occupy co-founder Dai Yaoting said Tuesday that support for Occupy is slipping. But he told VOA's Mandarin service Wednesday that while the movement may not reach its desired goals, its significance can not be ignored.

“The Occupy Central is a civil disobedience movement which has two parts. The first part is to change the system through some radical social actions," he said. "Now we know that it is unlikely to achieve this goal in the short term. Another goal of civil disobedience is to awake Hong Kong citizens, to let them understand the importance of democracy for Hong Kong. In terms of this part, we had a great influence in Hong Kong in the past 10 months. And influence will be further developed in the final Occupy Central Movement.”

The group has promised to continue protests and to maintain a "spirit of resistance," saying this is particularly important "when democratic reform seems unlikely in the coming years."

Under the ruling passed Sunday by China's parliament, candidates to become Hong Kong's next leader must receive majority approval from a nominating committee that likely is stacked with pro-Beijing representatives.

If, as expected, Hong Kong lawmakers block the pro-Beijing legislation when it comes up for a vote early next year, the territory will revert to the current method in which a pro-Beijing committee selects the chief executive.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: thmak from: Washington DC
September 05, 2014 10:44 AM
'The Occupy Central protesters' demand for democratic open nomination, universal standard and universal suffrage so not exist in any country anywhere in the world. They are unrealistic and unreasonable. Their main purpose is to create chaos to drag down HK's prosperity for their own selfish political gain. They should be ashamed of themselves for not demanding their agenda when HK was under the democratic British colonial rule

by: Anonymous
September 04, 2014 12:09 PM
The people of HongKong all riffraff from ditch daring to challenging the authority of Beijing is tantamount to Dreaming on

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs