Hong Kong leader clashes with democrats ahead of key vote

2015-05-28 09:05
Leung Chun-ying (Philippe Lopez: AFP)

Leung Chun-ying (Philippe Lopez: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hong Kong - Hong Kong's leader was challenged to step down on Thursday as he clashed with angry pro-democracy lawmakers over the government's controversial electoral reform package, which goes to a vote next month.

Chief executive Leung Chun-ying dodged the resignation question and told legislators the city was at a "critical juncture", urging them to support the roadmap for leadership elections in 2017 - the first ever public vote for the chief executive.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have vowed to block the package when it goes to the vote in June, calling it "fake democracy" as candidates for leader will be vetted by a loyalist committee, a stipulation laid down by Beijing.

Beijing's decision sparked more than two months of street rallies late last year which brought parts of the city to a standstill.

James To of the Democratic Party asked Leung whether he would step down "to take responsibility" if the package were rejected, a question which Leung did not answer directly.

"If Legco [Legislative Council] members do not endorse the proposal will people ask them to step down?" a riled Leung countered.

Majority support

Two lawmakers were removed from the heated question-and-answer session for heckling, one holding a yellow umbrella, symbol of the democracy movement, and another shouting "Liar!".

Pro-democracy legislators had also brought cardboard cut-outs of deer, printed with the Chinese character for "horse".

They reflected the Chinese idiom, "Point at a deer, call it a horse", used to refer to deliberate misrepresentation.

Leung argued that the government had "majority support" from residents for the election proposal, citing unspecified opinion polls as backing the plan by 50-60%.

The government has asked all 70 Hong Kong legislators to meet with Beijing officials in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Sunday to discuss the plan.

But pan-democrat lawmakers questioned what could be achieved, with both Beijing and the Hong Kong authorities consistently saying that they cannot diverge from the candidate screening policy.

"What are we doing in Shenzhen? There is no room for modifications," pro-democracy lawmaker Ray Chan said in a furious exchange with Leung.

Fifteen pro-democracy lawmakers - with 12 opting out - have said they will attend Sunday's meeting with three Beijing officials who deal with Hong Kong affairs.

Authorities have been criticised by pan-democrats for scheduling the meeting on the same day as a march in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of Beijing's Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Read more on:    leung chun-ying  |  hong kong

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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.


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.