Hong Kong's long struggle with Beijing over democracy

2009-11-19 10:36

Hong Kong - Hong Kong on Wednesday released a political reform blueprint for electoral arrangements in 2012 for its legislature and leader that will have a key bearing on the city's progress towards universal suffrage in 2017. After a three-month consultation, a final package will be drafted and voted upon by the city's legislature.

Hong Kong, a former British colony that reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of a high degree of autonomy, is the most politically liberal city in China. While Beijing has promised to grant universal suffrage in 2017, the city's pro-democracy political opposition remains angry at the slow pace of progress and sceptical about Beijing's intentions.

WHEN WILL HONG KONG BE ALLOWED TO REALISE FULL DEMOCRACY?

Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, stipulates universal suffrage is the "ultimate aim", with the territory's spirited push for direct elections having posed a long-term challenge for China's conservative Communist leadership.

In December 2007, however, Beijing bowed to public pressure to lay out a timetable for granting universal suffrage. It pledged direct votes may be held for the Chief Executive in 2017, and Legislative Council in 2020, with two new electoral methods to be settled by 2012. Democrats remain sceptical, however, and fear China may propose its own power-preserving version of direct elections, with electoral rules stacked against pro-democracy candidates.

WHAT DO THE PEOPLE OF HONG KONG WANT?

Public opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Hong Kong's seven million people want to see universal suffrage realised as soon as possible, preferably by 2012. More than 500 000 people took to the streets in July 2003 in a show of discontent with Beijing and government plans for a security bill to criminalise treason, secession, sedition, subversion and theft of state secrets. Rights groups said the bill threatened basic freedoms and it was shelved. China tightened its grip on the territory in April 2004, ruling out universal suffrage any time soon.

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS?

Hong Kong's incumbent leader, Donald Tsang, was selected in 2007 by an 800-person election committee stacked with Beijing loyalists, making it next to impossible for any opposition candidate to win under existing electoral rules.

In 2007, for the first time since the Chinese handover, an opposition candidate, Alan Leong, got on to the ballot sheet but lost in a landslide to the bow-tie wearing Tsang.

Half of the 60 seats on the city's legislative council are directly elected. The rest are voted upon by small, mostly commercial special interest groups called functional constituencies, which have traditionally been dominated by pro-establishment and pro-Beijing forces.

WHAT DOES THE PRO-DEMOCRACY OPPOSITION WANT?

Hong Kong's pro-democracy politicians control over 20 seats in the city's legislature, giving them a crucial one-third veto bloc over constitutional amendments including the political reform blueprint.

The democrats have been increasingly frustrated by Beijing's foot-dragging over democratic reforms and want universal suffrage implemented in 2012, the next available window. Failing this, the city's pro-democracy politicians say the electoral blueprint for 2012 must demonstrate clear democratic progress, along with a renewed pledge that true and fully democratic elections will be held in 2017.

Should this electoral package prove less liberal or far-reaching than hoped, the city's pro-democracy advocates have threatened to resign en masse from the 60-seat legislature.

DID THE BRITISH MAKE ANY EFFORT TO INTRODUCE DEMOCRACY?

The people of Hong Kong had no say in the choice of London-appointed governors since the middle of the 19th century when Hong Kong became a British colony. In the dying days of colonial rule, however, last governor Chris Patten pushed for more democratic elections for the city's legislature. In 1995 elections, pro-democracy groups took 70 percent of the vote, but after 1997, the post-colonial government moved rapidly to roll back British reforms.

Read more on:    hong kong
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Grannies are great

2014-07-30 09:36

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 20:17 PM
    Road name: MetroRail
    Due to extensive vandalism on the Central Line a limited Bus Service will operate between Nyanga/Chris Hani and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip - EXPECT DELAYS
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 19:58 PM
    Road name: Montague Drive
    ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is the end of the month and there may be a strong focus on organising finances. You may have found a need to reconstruct or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.