News / Asia

    Hong Kong Polarized Over Voting Reforms

    • Li Fei, deputy general secretary of the National People's Congress (NPC) standing committee, at a news conference in Hong Kong, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • A security guard tries to escort pro-democracy lawmakers (L-R) Albert Ho, Kwok Ka-ki, Alan Leung and Kenneth Chan to leave as they protest against Li Fei during a briefing session in Hong Kong, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Pro-democracy lawmaker Wu Chi-wai (C) from the Democratic Party is grabbed by security guards as he protests against Li Fei, Hong Kong Sept. 1, 2014
    • Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung is dragged away by security guards as he protests against Li Fei, Hong Kong, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Pro-democracy lawmakers hold up a banner and placards to protest as Li Fei speaks during a briefing session in Hong Kong, Sept. 1, 2014.
    • Occupy Central protesters confront police as they march in Hong Kong, Aug. 31, 2014.
    • Founders of the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement (L-R), Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, academic Benny Tai and academic Chan Kin-man, hit drums during a campaign to kick off the movement in front of the financial Central district in Hong Kong, Aug. 31, 2014.
    • Pro-democracy protesters hold up their mobile phones during a campaign to kick off the Occupy Central civil disobedience event in Hong Kong, Aug. 31, 2014.
    Shannon Van Sant

    Hong Kong police dispersed pro-democracy activists in a second day of protest rallies, after they heckled a senior Chinese official trying to explain Beijing's decision to tightly control nominations for the territory's chief executive.

    As Li Pei, deputy director of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee, began an address to Hong Kong lawmakers Monday, he was shouted down by pro-democracy activists and legislators.

    "The Beijing regime tries to devastate what they have promised for the Hong Kong people: one country, two systems," said Leung Kwok-hung, one of the legislators. "I think universal suffrage means there should be no censorship on the candidates on any election."

    Li continued his speech after police forced the protesters out of the venue, saying the decision was made to protect the rule of law and safeguard Hong Kong's long-term stability.

    China's powerful Standing Committee ruled Sunday that candidates seeking to become Hong Kong's next leader must receive a majority vote from a "broadly representative" nominating committee. Activists say it’s stacked with supporters of China’s Community Party, essentially ruling out democracy supporters from appearing on the ballot for the 2017 election.

    Beijing said criteria for choosing the nominees should include "a love of country." An editorial in the state-run People’s Daily newspaper said that "nobody who is antagonistic" to the Communist Party should be allowed to be chief executive.

    All of Hong Kong's chief executives have been chosen by a small election committee stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists drawn mostly from business sectors.

    Reneging on a pledge?

    Hong Kong Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau accused China of going back on its promises of universal suffrage.

    "I think Beijing’s decision is really appalling, however not unexpected," she said. "After all, we are dealing with an authoritarian regime."

    The debate over election reforms has polarized Hong Kong. 

    Lee Chuoren, a pro-democracy legislator, told VOA's Mandarin service that Beijing's decision will not pass the Hong Kong legislature, where the opposition has enough seats to block the issue.

    "This is a fake election," Lee said, saying it was unacceptable. "We have a joint statement from 25 pan-Democrat members" noting opposition to the ruling.

    Regina Ip, leader of Hong Kong’s New People’s Party, supports Beijing’s proposal.  

    "I can understand the disappointment on the part of my pan-Dem colleagues, because it means their chance of getting nominated would be diminished," Ip said. "But their inability to participate should not be a reason for vetoing this package."

    Mass rallies planned

    Democracy activists say the move by Beijing ushers in a new era of civil disobedience in the former British colony. 

    Leaders of the Occupy Central Movement said the group will go forward with plans to stage mass rallies in the central business district of the former British colony. They did not specify a date for the action.

    Hundreds of pro-democracy supporters who rallied Monday in a Hong Kong park outside the territory's legislature called Beijing's pre-screening of candidates "fake democracy."

    The activists have vowed to shut down the territory's central business district following China's decision.

    Demonstrations in favor of direct elections have spread beyond Hong Kong to Macau, which re-elected its incumbent leader Fernando Chui in an unchallenged contest over the weekend. 

    VOA's Colin Lovett contributed to this report. Additional information was provided by Reuters.

     

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    September 01, 2014 8:33 PM
    The legislators in Hong Kong are going to vote to pass it as law. At least 25 of them stated in public that they would veto it. If that happens, there will be no new lesgislation and the old or existing model will be used. Hong Kong will become ungovernable. To what extent, China can tolerate it is a question.

    by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
    September 01, 2014 7:04 PM
    Ching Cheong wrote an article in Chinese in Ming Pao to-day. He said we should not rule out that PLA would be sent to Hong Kong and Beijing declared Hong Kong in a state of emergency. If that happens, when PLA come to Hong Kong, that is the death of Hong Kong.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora