News / Asia

    Thousands March in Hong Kong in Escalating Battle for Democracy

    Thousands of pro-democracy protesters march in the streets to demand universal suffrage and urge Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down in Hong Kong, Jan. 1, 2014.
    Thousands of pro-democracy protesters march in the streets to demand universal suffrage and urge Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down in Hong Kong, Jan. 1, 2014.
    Reuters
    Thousands protested in Hong Kong on Wednesday pressing China to allow full democracy in the city as a battle intensifies over  Beijing's attempts to control the outcome of a planned direct election for the city's leader in 2017.

    Beijing had promised direct elections in the former British colony as the goal for 2017, but the devil is in the details of the rules governing who can run.

    Pressure has been building between democratic forces in the financial hub, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and China's stability-obsessed Communist Party leaders who fear a rival democrat being voted into office.

    • Protesters carry an effigy of a wolf representing Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying march during a demonstration in Hong Kong, Jan. 1, 2014.
    • Thousands of protesters were in the streets, some of whom were holding an effigy of a wolf representing Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong, Jan. 1, 2014.
    • Thousands of pro-democracy protesters march in the streets to demand universal suffrage and urge Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down, Hong Kong, Jan. 1, 2014.

    Protesters at the annual New Year's Day democracy rally  shouted slogans demanding full democracy in 2017, with a key condition being the open nominations of candidates so that anyone, including China critics, can run for office.

    But Chinese officials and leftist newspapers have rejected that, citing the city's mini-constitution that states all nominees must be endorsed by a 1,200-strong election committee, which is stacked with Beijing loyalists.

    “There's more and more interference [from Beijing],” said Tsang Fan-yu, a designer who was at Wednesday's protest with his seven-year-old son for their sixth consecutive year.

    “We have to come out to make our voices heard. The form of democracy Beijing wants is unacceptable. It's fake.”

    A cluster of banners read “Real Universal Suffrage. No pre-screened election”, while protesters also called on the city's embattled and pro-Beijing leader, Leung Chun-ying, to step down after a series of scandals.

    “We want to see Hong Kong people have a genuine choice in electing their leaders,” said Anson Chan, a respected former head of the civil service, who was at the rally.

    Discord over the city's democratic future could culminate in a protest this summer called “Occupy Central”, seeking to shut down the central business district of one of Asia's most important financial centers.

    “No direct election? See you in Central!” read one of the banners.

    A New Year civil referendum was also launched to gage the public's preferences for the 2017 poll, with some 50,000 Hong Kong residents having voted by late afternoon.

    “Hong Kong's political future has now come to a critical moment,” said Johnson Yeung, one of the rally organizers. “The 2014 New Year's Day rally will become the first field of battle between the public and the government.”

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora