Do Not Give Them the Excuse to Hurt You, HK Democracy Fighters


Protesters open their umbrellas, symbols of pro-democracy movement, as they mark exactly one month since they took the streets in Hong Kong's financial central district October 28, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Protesters open their umbrellas, symbols of pro-democracy movement, as they mark exactly one month since they took the streets in Hong Kong’s financial central district October 28, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

I point out in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s Tiananmen Syndrome:

Once Bitten by a Snake, One Is Scared All One’s Life at the Mere Sight of a Rope

The above is a popular Chinese saying often used as a metaphor to describe the persistent fear after a traumatic event.

It is understandable that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) felt threatened by mass protest of Falun Gong, an organization that popularizes a kind of qigong, a breathing technique to improve health and treat some diseases, and had to ban it. There were so many people practicing Falun Gong. They could be regarded as a political organization able to confront the Party.

It is still understandable that Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was jailed eleven years for his role in advocating Charter 08 that calls for greater freedom of expression, human rights and multi-party democracy though his campaign got nowhere in China. Within six months, only 8,600 of China’s over one billion people had put their signatures on the document. Since Liu had participated in the Tiananmen Protests and been jailed for that, it was only natural for CCP to punish him again when he continued such activities no matter whether he had violated the law or not.

However, it puzzled everyone that Zhao Lianhai, founder of Home for Kidney Stone Babies, a concern group for victims of melamine-poisoned milk, was brought to court in handcuffs and shackles for fighting for victimized babies’ rights. The handcuffs were not removed until his lawyers protested, but his feet remained in shackles for hours throughout the hearing. What felony did he commit so as to be humiliated like that?

According to his prosecutor, Zhao Lianhai “maliciously made the tainted milk incident an issue on the Internet, instigated and gathered people to shout slogans and hold illegal assemblies and thus seriously disrupted public order.” In fact, Zhao’s website helped families with babies poisoned by tainted milk share their experiences, maintained a database of medical records and provided practical help such as medical information about children sick due to tainted milk. Since the government itself made public the evils done by the enterprises that sold the tainted milk and the trials and verdicts of the cases of the managers of those enterprises, what was Zhao’s website wrong in doing so?

As reported by Hong Kong and Western media, the prosecutor knew well himself that the protests lead by Zhao Lianhai were entirely peaceful and gave rise to no serious disturbance. The protesters merely shouted some slogans and held some assemblies without permission. Article 290 of China’s Criminal Law provides, “Where people are gathered to disturb public order to such a serious extent that work in general, production, business operation, teaching or scientific research cannot go on and heavy losses are caused, the ringleaders shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than seven years;” Since no work in general, production, business operation, teaching or scientific research was affected nor any losses caused, the disturbance was by no means serious. There is, therefore, no ground to prosecute Zhao!

As for holding some harmless assemblies without permission, Zhao Lianhai contacted government officials times and again but was pressured instead supported by them. Since government officials tried hard to cover up the evils done, how could Zhao get permission for the assemblies? Zhao and others were justified in holding peaceful assemblies without permission. They had such rights according to China’s constitution.

Having seen all the good things CCP has done for the people in providing medical insurance, pension, housing, etc. for workers and peasants and giving relief to earthquake-, mudslide- and draught-stricken areas, people cannot help but wonder why the government has no sympathy for parents of melamine-poisoned babies. The only baby a couple is allowed to have has been poisoned and no one knows how the poison will affect the baby’s health in the future. Thanks to Zhao Lianhai’s leadership, those parents restrained their anger and protested peacefully. Shall the government not make allowance for that?

Moreover, Zhao Lianhai’s own only baby had kidney stones due to the tainted milk. How can he be accused of maliciously exploiting the incident to make trouble? As a victim’s father, Zhao himself has the right to express his anger peacefully on the Internet and in the streets. Is CCP top leader Hu Jintao’s “putting the people first” in his Scientific Outlook on Development empty talks? No, judging by what Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao had done, they did have put the people first in lots of things they had done. Why Zhao Lianhai was treated so callously then?

CCP’s Tiananmen Syndrome

The attack that CCP suffered from Tiananmen Protests was like the bite of a snake, which threatened Party’s very survival. The protests led by Zhao Lianhai though quite harmless like a rope compared with the “snake” the Tiananmen Protests, CCP was scared just as described by the Chinese saying that served as the first subhead: “Once bitten by a snake, one is scared all one’s life at the mere sight of a rope.” That was why CCP made such a show to humiliate and punish Zhao Lianhai. I would like to call this CCP’s Tiananmen Syndrome. It makes CCP suppress any mass protest whatever in order to prevent such protest from growing into one like the Tiananmen Protests that may threaten CCP’s monopoly of state power.

Knowing the above, one will not be surprised that Reuters gives its report today the title “Hong Kong protests a ‘national security issue’ for China”.

The writer of the report is correct in mentioning the separatist trend in the Umbrella Movement. It is natural that those who fight for democracy may believe that they may achieve true democracy if Hong Kong is an independent state.

However, that will give democracy fighters a dangerous label as separatism is a heinous crime in Chinese law while democracy is citizen’s right advocated in Chinese constitution though such provision on democracy has not been implemented.

When Chinese troops fired at democracy fighters during Tiananmen Massacre, they killed democracy fighters for their “counterrevolutionary crime” instead of their fight for democracy!

Hong Kong democracy fighters, be careful to avoid that dangerous label!

The following is the full text of the report:

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests have escalated into a national security issue threatening Chinese sovereignty over the Asian financial center, a delegate to China’s rubber-stamp parliament said on Thursday.

Businessman and lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun said support for Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was crucial to the city’s future stability and there was no longer any room to remain neutral.

The protesters have blocked key intersections for a month in their demand for fully-democratic elections for the city’s next chief executive in 2017. Beijing has said it will only allow a vote among pre-screened candidates.

While the protests have remained largely peaceful, flashes of violence and dramatic images of students dressed in raincoats and safety goggles using umbrellas to protect themselves from tear gas and pepper spray have reared a new political consciousness in the city of seven million.

“Because China has declared there are foreign forces and political influence behind Occupy Central, it has been elevated to a national security issue,” Tien said, referring to one of the protest groups.

“They are not fighting for democracy. They are fighting for independence. We are dealing with a sovereignty issue… Occupy Central is asking for complete democracy, something that only an independent state can provide.”

Tien was speaking a day after his brother, James Tien Pei-chun, was expelled from China’s top parliamentary advisory body and resigned as leader of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Liberal Party after urging the Leung to step down. Beijing has said it fully supports Leung.

James Tien’s swift removal from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is a sign of how concerned Beijing is about the protests which, at their peak, drew more than 100,000 people into the streets.

Hong Kong’s increasingly charged political climate is also putting Chinese government officials on tenterhooks.

China’s liaison office in Hong Kong called an urgent meeting with Liberal Party leaders on Tuesday, calling them in the morning and asking them to attend a dinner meeting that night, said Liberal Party lawmaker Felix Chung.

China’s most senior official in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, explained the CPPCC’s decision was specific to James Tien, Chung said. Zhang also said Beijing would continue to support the Liberal Party, according to Chung.

The party in Hong Kong is pro-establishment and comprised largely of businessmen.

Michael Tien said that the CPPCC was forced to act given the backdrop of the protests. CPPCC members are expected to fully support and promote its resolutions – or at least keep quiet once they are made, he said, adding that if the CPPCC had failed to respond to his brother’s comments, its bylaws and code of conduct risked becoming “a bunch of hot air”.

“Membership comes with a certain price tag,” Tien said. “I think my brother made the mistake of not recognizing that.”

While CPPCC officials have said they still consider James Tien loyal, his brother says there is still debate over how to categorize him.

“One camp calls him the ‘conscience of Hong Kong’ because he is willing to sacrifice his own political career to speak his mind. The other camp says he is not loyal and has betrayed his status as a pro-establishment member,” Michael Tien said.

“I think both camps are correct. That’s why it’s best for him not to be a CPPCC member. When you accept that appointment, it comes with certain obligations.”

James Tien declined to comment.

Source: Reuters “Hong Kong protests a ‘national security issue’ for China”

Related post at tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com:

  • The Wise Way to Fight for Democracy in Hong Kong dated September 3, 2014
  • Hong Kong Democracy a Model for China’s Democratization dated September 6, 2014
  • China asserts paternal rights over Hong Kong in democracy clash dated September 12, 2014
  • Hong Kong College Students Took the Lead in Fighting for True Democracy dated September 29, 2014

Hong Kong College Students Took the Lead in Fighting for True Democracy


  Riot police fire teargas to disperse protesters after thousands of demonstrators blocked the main street to the financial Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong September 29, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Riot police fire teargas to disperse protesters after thousands of demonstrators blocked the main street to the financial Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong September 29, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Stringer

In my post on March 31 titled “College students are China’s hope for democracy; Over 100,000 protest in Taiwan”, I said, “We Chinese are proud of our college students. They are the driving force of Chinese history. See how similar are Taiwan college students’ Sunflower Campaign to Chinese college students’ campaign for democracy at Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. They are so disciplined and well-organized, strong but peaceful.”

Now, Hong Kong college students have come out to fight for democracy. Their courage and perfect organization and discipline are as admirable as the heroic students in Beijing and Taipei. They have won the support of thousands of Hong Kong people.

The following is the full text of Reuter’s report on their struggle:

Hong Kong democracy protesters defy tear gas, baton charge in historic standoff

Riot police advanced on Hong Kong democracy protesters in the early hours of Monday, firing volleys of tear gas after launching a baton-charge in the worst unrest there since China took back control of the former British colony two decades ago.

Some protesters erected barricades to block security forces amid chaotic scenes still unfolding just hours before one of the world’s major financial centers was due to open for business. Many roads leading to the Central business district remained sealed off as thousands defied police calls to retreat.

Earlier, police baton-charged a crowd blocking a key road in the government district in defiance of official warnings that the demonstrations were illegal.

Several scuffles broke out between police in helmets, gas masks and riot gear, with demonstrators angered by the firing of tear gas, last used in Hong Kong in 2005.

“If today I don’t stand up, I will hate myself in future,” said taxi driver Edward Yeung, 55, as he swore at police on the frontline. “Even if I get a criminal record it will be a glorious one.”

White clouds of gas wafting between some of the world’s most valuable office towers and shopping malls underscored the struggle that China’s Communist Party faces in stamping its will on Hong Kong’s more than 7 million people.

China took back control of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997.

Eight years earlier, Beijing’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square in 1989 had sent shockwaves through Hong Kong as people saw how far China’s rulers would go to maintain their grip on power.

Thousands of protesters were still milling around the main Hong Kong government building, ignoring messages from student and pro-democracy leaders to retreat for fear that the police might fire rubber bullets.

Australia and Italy issued travel warnings for Hong Kong, urging their citizens to avoid protest sites. Some financial firms in the business district advised staff to work from home or from another location.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement on Sunday that Washington supported Hong Kong’s well-established traditions and fundamental freedoms, such as peaceful assembly and expression.

PEPPER SPRAY, TEAR GAS

The protests fanned out to the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay and across the harbor to Mong Kok, posing a greater challenge for authorities to contain, local media reported. The protesters brought traffic to a halt and called on Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying to step down.

Police, in lines five deep in places, earlier used pepper spray against activists and shot tear gas into the air. The crowds fled several hundred yards (meters), scattering their umbrellas and hurling abuse at police they called “cowards”.

Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule under a formula known as “one country, two systems” that guaranteed a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China. Universal suffrage was set as an eventual goal.

But Beijing last month rejected demands for people to freely choose the city’s next leader, prompting threats from activists to shut down the Central business district. China wants to limit elections to a handful of candidates loyal to Beijing.

Communist Party leaders in Beijing are concerned that calls for democracy could spread to cities on the mainland.

In a move certain to unnerve authorities in Beijing, media in Taiwan reported that student leaders there had occupied the lobby of Hong Kong’s representative office on the island in a show of support for the democracy protesters.

Hong Kong leader Leung had earlier pledged “resolute” action against the protest movement, known as Occupy Central with Love and Peace.

“The police are determined to handle the situation appropriately in accordance with the law,” Leung said, less than two hours before the police charge began.

“NEVER GIVE UP”

Police had not used tear gas in Hong Kong since breaking up protests by South Korean farmers against the World Trade Organisation in 2005.

“We will fight until the end … we will never give up,” said Peter Poon, a protester in his 20s, adding that he may have to retreat temporarily during the night.

Police denied rumors that they had used rubber bullets.

A spokesperson for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said the central government fully supported Hong Kong’s handling of the situation “in accordance with the law”.

Such dissent would never be tolerated on the mainland, where the phrase “Occupy Central” was blocked on Sunday on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. It had been allowed earlier in the day.

A tearful Occupy organizer, Benny Tai, said he was proud of people’s determination to fight for “genuine” universal suffrage, but that the situation was getting out of control, local broadcaster RTHK reported. He said he believed he would face heavy punishment for initiating the movement.

Protesters huddled in plastic capes, masks and goggles as they braced for a fresh police attempt to clear them from the financial district before Hong Kong re-opens for business. The city’s financial markets are expected to open as usual on Monday. [ID:nL3N0RT0KT]

“WE WILL WIN WITH LOVE AND PEACE”

Publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai, a key backer of the democracy movement, joined the protesters.

“The more Hong Kong citizens come, the more unlikely the police can clear up the place,” said Lai, also wearing a plastic cape and protective glasses. “Even if we get beaten up, we cannot fight back. We will win this war with love and peace.”

Pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said three fellow legislators were among a small group of activists detained by police, including democratic leaders Albert Ho and Emily Lau.

Organizers said as many as 80,000 people thronged the streets in Admiralty district, galvanized by the arrests of student activists on Friday. No independent estimate of the crowd numbers was available.

A week of protests escalated into violence when student-led demonstrators broke through a cordon late on Friday and scaled a fence to invade the city’s main government compound.

Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. The Hong Kong Federation of Students has extended class boycotts indefinitely and called on the city’s leader to step down.

Police have so far arrested 78 people, including Joshua Wong, the 17-year-old leader of student group Scholarism, who was dragged away after calling on protesters to charge the government premises.

Wong was released without charge on Sunday night. He told reporters he planned to return to the protest site after resting. Student leaders Alex Chow and Lester Shum have also been released.

Source: Reuters “Hong Kong democracy protesters defy tear gas, baton charge in historic standoff”

Related posts at tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com:

  • China asserts paternal rights over Hong Kong in democracy clash dated September 12, 2014
  • Hong Kong Democracy a Model for China’s Democratization dated September 6, 2014
  • The Wise Way to Fight for Democracy in Hong Kong dated September 3, 2014
  • Hong Kong braces for protests as China rules out full democracy dated September 1, 2014
  • Beijing Tightening Its Grip of Hong Kong by Various Means dated July 2, 2014
  • College students are China’s hope for democracy; Over 100,000 protest in Taiwan dated March 31, 2014

China asserts paternal rights over Hong Kong in democracy clash


 Thousands of pro-democracy protesters gather to march in the streets to demand universal suffrage in Hong Kong, in this July 1, 2014 file picture.  Credit: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/Files

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters gather to march in the streets to demand universal suffrage in Hong Kong, in this July 1, 2014 file picture.
Credit: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/Files

Just days before China was set to deliver its edict on electoral reform in Hong Kong, Beijing’s most senior official in the city held a rare meeting with several local lawmakers whose determined push for full democracy had incensed Beijing’s Communist leaders.

The setting at the Aug. 19 meeting was calm: A room with plush cream carpets, Chinese ink brush landscape paintings and a vase of purple orchids. The political mood outside, however, was fraught. Democratic protesters were threatening to shut down the global financial hub with an “Occupy Central” sit-in if Beijing refused to allow the city to freely elect its next leader.

After the formal smiles and handshakes with Zhang Xiaoming, the head of China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, the mood soured. Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung asked Zhang whether Beijing would allow any democrat to run for the city’s highest office.
Zhang, 51, dressed in a black suit and a navy blue striped tie, delivered a blunt response. “The fact that you are allowed to stay alive, already shows the country’s inclusiveness,” he answered, according to two people in the room who declined to be named. Zhang’s office did not respond to several faxed requests for comment.

VISIONS OF CHAOS

Zhang’s remarks stripped away any pretence China could find common ground with Hong Kong’s democracy camp. The two sides have been wrangling over what it means to have “one country, two systems” for the past 30 years – China stressing “one country” and democrats in the former British colony the “two systems”.

For Beijing, Western-style democracy conjures up visions of “color revolutions” and the “Arab Spring”, of chaos and instability that could pose a mortal threat to the ruling Communist Party. For many Hong Kong residents, free elections means preserving the British-instituted rule of law, accountability of leaders, and multi-party politics as a check on government powers.

At the Aug. 19 meeting, Zhang said Beijing had been generous even allowing democrats such as Leung to run for legislative seats. He insisted that the next leader had to be a “patriot”.

“We were shocked,” said one person who attended the meeting. “But Zhang Xiaoming is only an agent who delivered the stance of the central government without trying to polish it.”

Few were surprised, though, when China’s highest lawmaking body, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC), announced an electoral package on Aug. 31 that said any candidate for Hong Kong’s chief executive in the 2017 election had to first get majority support from a 1,200-person nominating panel – likely to be stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.

Democrats say the decision spelled out China’s bottom line on political reform: A direct vote will be allowed, but only if Beijing vets the candidates.

Yet the pro-democracy movement is vowing to press on with its campaign of civil disobedience. It is threatening to lock down Hong Kong’s main business district with sit-ins in October, protesting what they call “fake” Chinese-style democracy. Students plan to boycott university classes later this month. And the city’s 27 pro-democracy lawmakers have threatened to block Beijing’s 2017 electoral package in the legislature, where they hold nearly one-third of the seats – enough to veto the law and block future government policies.

Benny Tai, one of the movement’s three leaders, takes a longer-term view. “I call this a process of democratic baptism … by participating, people will be baptized by democratic ideals,” Tai told Reuters. “So it is not the end of the movement, it’s the beginning of the movement, the beginning of a disobedience age.”

“LEAD CHINA FORWARD”

As a colonial power, Britain appointed Hong Kong’s governors and never encouraged democratic development for almost all of the 156 years it ruled the colony. It was only when Britain and China broadly agreed on how to hand over the colony to China, beginning with a “Joint Declaration” in 1984, that a blueprint for democracy was envisioned. It led to the signing of the “Basic Law” in 1990, which said the city could keep its wide-ranging freedoms and autonomy, and for the first time stated universal suffrage as “the ultimate aim”, while ensuring China still had ample levers to ensure its influence over the city.

Martin Lee, a founder of the city’s main opposition Democratic Party who helped draft the Basic Law, recalls meeting late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on April 16, 1987.

“He said many things. But one of them was if 50 years should prove not enough for you, you can have another 50 years,” Lee said, referring to China’s pledge not to change anything in Hong Kong until 2047.

China’s 1989 crackdown on the protests around Tiananmen Square was a watershed for both sides on how democracy might evolve. After mass demonstrations erupted in Beijing, new democratic groups sprouted up in Hong Kong. China began to see Hong Kong as a potential national security threat.

“When Deng formulated ‘one country, two systems’, I suppose he didn’t anticipate there would be the June 4 massacre which caused Hong Kong people so much anger against the Communists,” Lee said in his law office, which contains a bronze bust of Winston Churchill and a picture of a June 4 candle-light vigil in the city. “He thought he could win us over.”

Fear and anxiety mounted instead. The years leading up to the actual handover of the city to Beijing in 1997 saw a wave of people and businesses emigrating abroad, fearful of the imminent handover to China.

DISMEMBERMENT BY ‘BLACK HANDS’

Chinese officials rankle at current-day comparisons to British rule, pointing out that Britain never brought democracy to Hong Kong during a century and a half of colonial rule. “Hong Kong people did not stand up to demand democracy,” said a person with ties to the leadership in Beijing. “This is a big improvement compared with the British. Still, some people do not see it as the glass half full, but half empty.”

Any criticism of China’s handling of Hong Kong by countries like Britain and the United States also draws claims of foreign intervention from Beijing. China, ever mindful of how it was carved up in the 19th century by foreign powers, fears the democracy movement in Hong Kong could precipitate another break-up, said a source in Beijing close to the Chinese leadership.

“When there is chaos in Hong Kong, they will push for Hong Kong to become independent,” said a second source with leadership ties, referring to meddling by “black hands,” or foreign agents. These forces “want to influence the mainland to become a democracy and be dismembered like the Soviet Union.”

In the years after 1997, Beijing seemed content to stay at arm’s length from Hong Kong. Former president Jiang Zemin made reunification with Taiwan a top priority and so it was important for China that the “one country, two systems” formula was seen as successful.

Beijing also hoped that people in Hong Kong would slowly begin to identify with the Chinese nation over time, especially younger generations schooled under a post-colonial system.

But a series of opinion polls taken every six months since the 1997 handover tells a different story. The number of respondents in the University of Hong Kong survey expressing confidence in China’s future has fallen steadily from 75 percent in 1997 to 50 percent in June. Moreover, the survey showed the younger the respondent, the less proud they were of becoming a Chinese national citizen.

China’s current unbending line on Hong Kong also has to do with its emergence as a power on the world stage and is in line with a more assertive posture adopted by President Xi Jinping. When Jiang negotiated the island’s future in 1997, China’s gross domestic product was US$0.95 trillion (7.9 trillion yuan). Today it is US$9.4 trillion, making it the world’s second-biggest economy.

“(Beijing) was poor, tolerant and made concessions then to (try to) win the hearts of Hong Kong people,” said the first source with ties to the leadership, referring to China’s more conciliatory approach under Deng and his successors.

It may also have to do with internal Chinese politics. Xi’s uncompromising line on Hong Kong may be an effort to protect his flank as he pushes ahead with economic reforms and a far-reaching anti-corruption campaign that has targeted powerful figures in the Communist Party.

“China needs to draw lessons from the achievements of foreign politics, but the foundations of our system should absolutely not be given up,” Xi said in a September 5 speech in Beijing.

PEACE AND LOVE

“The Occupy Central with Love and Peace” movement coalesced in January 2013 after Benny Tai, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, wrote a newspaper column proposing a Gandhi-like civil disobedience movement – an escalation from the usual marches and candlelight vigils – to press for universal suffrage.

The movement got an indication of Beijing’s bottom line on democratic reform in June when the Chinese government issued a “White Paper” that reminded Hong Kong residents that it wields supreme authority in the city. Hong Kong administrators, including judges, had to “love the country” as a basic requirement to hold office, it said.

Undeterred, the Occupy movement organized an unofficial referendum on universal suffrage at the end of June that drew 800,000 ballots calling for free elections. Then, on July 1, nearly half a million protesters marched to the financial district. Over 500 were arrested after activists staged an overnight sit-in.

That sparked consternation in Beijing. It was a reminder of a mass protest in 2003 when half a million people poured onto the streets of Hong Kong to protest an anti-subversion bill by the territory’s legislature – the biggest anti-government protest on Chinese soil since the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

“When they saw the Democrats attending these rallies, they just drew the line and treated us as enemies,” said Martin Lee.

Pro-Beijing groups countered in August with a mass demonstration of their own at which they warned of public disorder and the perils of antagonizing China.

Jasper Tsang, one of the founders of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the city’s largest political party, said China’s leaders never promised full democracy.

“I would think if the Basic Law were written in the last five years, it would be very likely that we would leave out the words ‘universal suffrage'”, Tsang said.

BETWEEN FATHER AND SON

Protest-leader Benny Tai counsels patience. He says a time will come when China is truly ready for political reform. When it does, “Hong Kong naturally will be chosen as the experimental ground for democratic reform in mainland China,” he says. “I still have confidence in the long run. We may be able to win the war, even if we lose this battle.”

The view in Beijing is less accommodating.

“The mainland has been too nice to Hong Kong,” said the first source with leadership ties. “The relationship between the center and Hong Kong is not one between brothers, but between father and son. The son has to listen to the father.”

Source: Reuters “China asserts paternal rights over Hong Kong in democracy clash”

Related posts:

  • Hong Kong Democracy a Model for China’s Democratization dated September 6, 2014
  • The Wise Way to Fight for Democracy in Hong Kong dated September 3, 2014
  • Hong Kong braces for protests as China rules out full democracy dated September 1, 2014
  • China and Hong Kong poised for showdown over democracy dated August 31, 2014
  • Beijing Tightening Its Grip of Hong Kong by Various Means dated July 2, 2014

Hong Kong Democracy a Model for China’s Democratization


Though a Hong Kong resident, I am not much interested in the democracy in Hong Kong itself as being familiar with China’s more than two thousand years of centralism, I am very clear that however democratic Hong Kong is, it cannot be free from the central government’s control.

Given the autocracy of CCP Dynasty in China, if Beijing really allows Hong Kong to have real democracy instead of the restricted universal suffrage it has proposed now, it may give us a clue to Chinese leaders’ intention for a democratic reform in China.

US influence is certainly important for Hong Kong’s democracy. It is a pity that the US is now declining in economic and military power due to President Obama’s and his predecessor’s incompetence. If the US wants to have a democratic China, it must have a competent leader to achieve economic growth and prosperity and adopt the right strategy and diplomacy to maintain its world leadership.

Otherwise, China will surpass the US not only in economy but also in military strength.

According to people close to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Xi admires Deng Xiaoping and wants to have achievements comparable to Deng’s; therefore, the TV series on Deng Xiaoping recently on show at CCTV can give us important clues to what Xi will do.

So far we have seen that the TV series has shown Deng’s stress on giving play to people’s talents and diligence and desire to make Chinese people rich. From what Xi is doing and plans to do for his ambitious economic reform, Xi will learn from Deng to give play to Chinese people’s talents and diligence.

That will make China more powerful than the US especially in military strength as China is carrying out an arms race vigorously with the US. As China is an autocracy, a tyrant like Mao may emerge when China has surpassed the US. He may bring disasters to the world and no one in China can stop him. Only the US, if strong enough, can stop him.

That is why I write my new book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The US to warn world people, especially American people. It is high time for them to elect a competent leader to adopt the right strategy and conduct correct diplomacy to overcome the predicament that the US is now in.

The New York Time says in it report today on President Obama’s national security adviser Susan E. Rice’s scheduled Beijing visit this week that Rice has too crowded an agenda to deal with the issue of Hong Kong’s democracy. She may say something about the issue, but China will ignore her advice and stick to its position.

Hong Kong’s democracy will set a model for China to follow in its democratization while China’s democratization will remove the danger of the emergence of a tyrant like Mao in China when China has become a rival to the US. It is a pity that according to The New York Times, the Hong Kong issue is not one of Rice’s major worries.

The following is the full text of The New York Times’ report:

Hong Kong’s Democrats Clamor for Spot on Crowded U.S. Agenda

WASHINGTON — Pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong are girding for what some predict will be a tense final showdown with the Chinese government over whether Beijing will permit genuine democracy to take root in the former British colony.

But in Washington, where the political quarrels in a wealthy Asian financial center understandably capture less attention than marauding militants in Iraq or Russian artillery units in Ukraine, there has been little reaction to the clash in Hong Kong over a new voting law.

That should change this weekend, when Susan E. Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, is scheduled to make her first visit to Beijing since taking the job 15 months ago. Administration officials say Ms. Rice will raise American concerns about the standoff in Hong Kong when she meets with Chinese leaders.

It will be just one topic on a crowded agenda that includes nuclear talks with Iran, tensions after a Chinese fighter jet buzzed an American surveillance plane last month, and President Vladimir V. Putin’s incursions into Ukraine, which American officials worry are being watched with a bit too much admiration by President Xi Jinping.

“It’s a relationship that has been somewhat frazzled and rocky over the last six months,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, a former senior adviser on China in the National Security Council. “Therefore, having White House involvement in the relationship helps steady it.”

For Ms. Rice, who prides herself on her blunt advocacy of human rights, the throngs of protesters in Hong Kong are difficult to ignore. While she does not want the topic to swamp her visit, a senior official said she would remind the Chinese that Hong Kong had thrived with Western-style civil liberties since Britain returned it to China in 1997.

A new law proposed by China’s legislature would require candidates for chief executive of Hong Kong to be vetted by a committee, effectively ruling out anyone the Chinese government deemed unacceptable. Pro-democracy activists are promising a “new era of civil disobedience,” with demonstrators threatening to paralyze the financial district of a city that is home to more than 50,000 American expatriates.

China’s likely response will be to tell Ms. Rice not to meddle in its internal affairs. Few people expect the Chinese government to retreat from its proposal, which has put Hong Kong’s pro-democracy parties in a bind because if they reject it, they are rejecting a law that, on paper, gives every citizen the right to vote for Hong Kong’s leader.

Still, pro-democracy leaders fervently hope Ms. Rice will register American concern, particularly since Hong Kong’s old colonial sovereign, Britain, which negotiated guarantees of civil liberties and autonomy with the Chinese for Hong Kong, has said next to nothing about it.

“Great Britain has already capitulated, so the Chinese have dismissed them,” said Anson Chan, a former top official in the Hong Kong government who has become a democratic activist. “But they do care — they especially care about what the United States says.”

A longtime democratic leader, Martin Lee, said the United States had a stake in the dispute that went beyond its usual commitment to democratic values. At the behest of China and Britain, it endorsed the 1984 joint declaration that guaranteed Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy and its own political system for 50 years after the handover.

“China cannot tell the U.S., ‘none of your business,’ because they lobbied for U.S. support for it,” Mr. Lee said, adding that China might feel emboldened to breach international agreements. In March, Mr. Lee and Mrs. Chan visited Washington to drum up American support for Hong Kong’s beleaguered democrats. They met with the House minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, and with Senator Mark S. Kirk, Republican of Illinois, and they got a drop-in meeting with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. That infuriated Chinese officials, some of whom suggested that the United States was fomenting unrest.

For the first time since 2007, Congress has reinstated an annual reporting requirement in the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act, which mandates that the State Department assess the city’s progress.

Still, the melancholy reality for Hong Kong is that the White House, like 10 Downing Street, has other fish to fry with the Chinese. To date, the only official American response to the voting law is a statement from the State Department that “the United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong,” but refrains from criticizing the Chinese government.

Administration officials declined to speak on the record about Hong Kong before Ms. Rice’s visit. A spokesman for the national security adviser, Patrick Ventrell, said, “The administration remains committed to our rebalance to Asia, and that includes close and continuing consultation with top Chinese leadership directly from the White House.”

In sending Ms. Rice, the White House is seeking to revive a channel that was used by her predecessor, Tom Donilon, who met several times with Dai Bingguo, then China’s top foreign-policy official. Mr. Dai has been replaced by Yang Jiechi, a former foreign minister who is viewed as having less influence with the top leaders than Mr. Dai.

Just getting to China has been tricky for Ms. Rice, given the cascade of crises in the Middle East and Ukraine. But with Mr. Obama scheduled to visit Beijing in November, officials said it was important for her to go to plan that visit. She will fly directly from the NATO summit meeting in Wales.

With Ukraine on her mind, she is likely to emphasize the West’s determination to counter Russia’s actions. Tensions between the United States and China spiked last month after a Chinese fighter came within 30 feet of a Navy surveillance plane.

With issues like that on the table, the twilight struggle of Hong Kong’s democrats may be the least of Ms. Rice’s worries.

Source: The New York Times “Hong Kong’s Democrats Clamor for Spot on Crowded U.S. Agenda”

Related posts:

  • The Wisdom in the Struggle for Democracy in Hong Kong dated September 3, 2014
  • Hong Kong braces for protests as China rules out full democracy dated September 1, 2014
  • China and Hong Kong poised for showdown over democracy dated August 31, 20144
  • Beijing Tightening Its Grip of Hong Kong by Various Means dated July 2, 2014
  • On day of Hong Kong mass protests, China’s army opens barracks to public dated July 1, 2014

The Wisdom in the Struggle for Democracy in Hong Kong


Democracy activists clash with the police during a protest Monday outside a hotel in Hong Kong. Credit Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Democracy activists clash with the police during a protest Monday outside a hotel in Hong Kong. Credit Tyrone Siu/Reuters

It is common knowledge that in a negotiation each party has its bottom line. A party cannot get what it wants without limit. The best it can get is something as close to the other party’s bottom line as possible. It can never get something beyond the bottom line.

In the fight for democracy in Hong Kong, one cannot get democracy of international standards overnight. One has to conduct long-term struggle to win democracy step by step.

For the present, there must be a wise leader able to find Beijing’s bottom line and rally all democrats around him to obtain the democracy as close to Beijing’s bottom line as possible.

The negotiation shall certainly be carried out between the pan-Democrats in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council with Beijing behind the scene, but there must be mass support behind the pan-Democrats.

The mass protests in support of pan-Democrats must be large in scale and perfect in order; therefore, it must be well organized, especially with a strong team to maintain good order and prevent any acts of violence by extremists or bad elements. An excessive act may give police the excuse to suppress the mass campaign.

There have been lots of talks about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. The campaigns led by them succeeded because of their leadership.

The New York Times gives its report today on Hong Kong’s fight for democracy the title “Democracy Backers in Hong Kong Face Tough Choices”. Its report shows the reporters’ deep insight into the difficulties faced by democratic fighters. However, the toughest choice is the choice of a wise leader able to rally all democratic fighters around him to win democracy step by step.

The following is the full text of New York Times’ report:

Democracy Backers in Hong Kong Face Tough Choices
By MICHAEL FORSYTHE and CHRIS BUCKLEYSEPT. 1, 2014

HONG KONG — For more than a year, Democrats in Hong Kong have threatened to disrupt Asia’s most important financial center with a sit-in protest if the central government in Beijing put onerous restrictions on a voting plan here.

China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature did just that on Sunday, so now the democracy movement must decide how to carry out its threat, even while the defeat of its immediate demand seemed certain.

Students and organizers will hold meetings in coming days to map out a plan of protracted protests, including student strikes, legislative obstruction and a sit-in in the city’s Central financial district, the tactic that gave name to the main grass-roots opposition group, Occupy Central. They said they expected to be arrested for blocking major thoroughfares in the heart of Hong Kong.

The movement will also have to confront difficult choices about how far to go. Much of the public in Hong Kong appears wary of confrontational actions that could damage the city’s reputation for order, but protests that are not disruptive might have little impact on international opinion and would be easier for the Chinese leadership and Hong Kong politicians to ignore.

Moreover, Beijing has left scant room for compromise: The Hong Kong legislature must now adopt a voting plan for the city’s leader based on Beijing’s directive or leave in place the current system in which the position is not popularly elected.

In the near future, the protests will achieve nothing, said Brian Fong Chi-hang, a political science scholar at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and a supporter of the democracy movement.

“The most important challenge is that even if they succeed in mobilizing a large-scale Occupy Central movement in a peaceful and orderly manner, they will finally get nothing,” he said. “We cannot change anything.”

But leaders of the movement expected to wage a protracted struggle nonetheless.

“This is a long, long cause,” said Chan Kin-man, an associate professor of sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and co-founder of the movement, known in full as Occupy Central With Love and Peace. “Civil disobedience is the starting point. Look at what happened in Martin Luther King’s case.”

The Hong Kong Democrats count the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Gandhi as inspirations for their nonviolent principles of protest. For their latter-day followers in Hong Kong, nonviolence offers both practical and philosophical advantages.

“If any violent actions happen in the Occupy Central movement, it will lose public support very rapidly,” Mr. Fong said.

But well-behaved protests might have little effect on Beijing and its Hong Kong allies. China’s government is no fan of Western democratic values, not prone to compromise and not known to be easily swayed by moral arguments.

Beijing’s hard-line stance was reiterated on Monday by Li Fei, an official with China’s National People’s Congress who led deliberations on the electoral changes. “If we yield because some people threaten to commence radical, illegal activities, it would only result in more, bigger illegal activities,” he told legislators and politicians in Hong Kong.

In an early skirmish in this contest, he was heckled by pro-democracy demonstrators, scuffles broke out, and the police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

But the Democrats — a broad coalition of Hong Kong society, including students, bankers and religious leaders — felt they had no choice but to continue their protests after conditions set by the National People’s Congress for elections for the territory’s top post, the chief executive, ensured that only candidates approved by Beijing could be on the ballot.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997, but under an agreement with Beijing, citizens here enjoy rights — including freedom of assembly and speech — unavailable in the rest of China. Those rights could help sustain the protest movement, organizers said.

Albert Ho, one of 27 so-called “pan-Democrats” in Hong Kong’s 70-member Legislative Council, who was also a candidate for the territory’s chief executive post in 2012, said the next step would be a series of small protests followed by a large event, possibly a sit-in, in several weeks.

“There will be ongoing struggles, ongoing fights, until we get what we’re entitled to,” Mr. Ho said in a telephone interview. “Nobody can ensure when and how we will eventually get what we want. But we’ve got to fight on.”

Under Beijing’s new rules, Mr. Ho would have almost no chance of appearing on the ballot for the next election because the nominating threshold was raised from approval by one-eighth to half of a 1,200-member committee stacked with Beijing loyalists.

On the first day of classes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Monday, campaigners distributed yellow ribbons to students, symbolizing their determination to strive for democracy.

Tommy Cheung, the president of the university’s student union, announced a student strike in a speech at the university’s opening ceremony, and he encouraged students to join him in planning the specifics at a rally on Thursday in front of the campus’s “Goddess of Democracy” statue — a replica of the one erected a quarter century ago in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

For now, the Democrats say they have the votes to block the city’s pro-Beijing government from implementing the voting plan. “There’s no room for negotiation unless Beijing’s prepared to revise their proposal,” Emily Lau, head of the Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, said in an interview.

But pro-Beijing lawmakers were already warning that vetoing the proposal, however imperfect, would draw the ire of Hong Kong’s voters. The city government, led by the chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, was advertising at train and bus stations and on television urging Hong Kong’s citizens to embrace the Beijing-mandated voting plan.

“You can have universal suffrage in 2017,” a male voice narrated in the 15-second TV ad, available in English and the local language, Cantonese. “Your vote. Don’t cast it away.”

Regina Ip, head of the pro-Beijing New People’s Party, said that there was plenty of “wiggle room,” even with the limits set by the Chinese legislature, and that pro-democracy lawmakers would be making a mistake in being obstructionist. “Frankly, if they veto the package, it will be bad for their own political future,” she said in an interview.

She and a party colleague, Michael Tien, said that there were big differences, even among pro-Beijing candidates, that voters would have a real choice, and that the winning candidate would be held accountable.

Anson Chan, who headed Hong Kong’s Civil Service in the last colonial administration and the first government under Chinese sovereignty, said that confining candidates to the pro-Beijing camp was a recipe for corruption.

“We will not give up our fight for genuine democracy,” she said, “because that is what we believe is the best way to ensure Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity.”

Source: The New York Times “Democracy Backers in Hong Kong Face Tough Choices”

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Hong Kong braces for protests as China rules out full democracy


A pro-democracy protester carries a placard which reads 'Communist Party, you lie!' as he sits with other protesters during a campaign to kick off the Occupy Central civil disobedience event in front of the financial Central district in Hong Kong August 31, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

A pro-democracy protester carries a placard which reads ‘Communist Party, you lie!’ as he sits with other protesters during a campaign to kick off the Occupy Central civil disobedience event in front of the financial Central district in Hong Kong August 31, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

Pro-democracy activists vowed on Sunday to bring Hong Kong’s financial hub to a standstill after China’s parliament rejected their demands for the right to freely choose the former British colony’s next leader in 2017.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) endorsed a framework to let only two or three candidates run in the 2017 leadership vote. All candidates must first obtain majority backing from a nominating committee likely to be stacked with Beijing loyalists.

The relatively tough decision by the NPC – China’s final arbiter on the city’s democratic affairs – makes it almost impossible for opposition democrats to get on the ballot.

“This is a legal, fair and reasonable decision. It is a dignified, prudent decision, and its legal effect is beyond doubt,” Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the NPC standing committee, told reporters after the decision.

Hundreds of “Occupy Central” activists, who demand Beijing allow a real, free election, prepared to stage a small protest late on Sunday to formally launch a campaign of civil disobedience that will climax with a blockade at some time of the city’s important Central business district.

“Today is not only the darkest day in the history of Hong Kong’s democratic development, today is also the darkest day of one country, two systems,” said Benny Tai, a law professor and one of Occupy Central’s main leaders, referring to the formula under which capitalist Hong Kong, with a population of around 7.2 million, was returned to Communist Chinese rule in 1997.

The Occupy movement said in a statement that “all chances of dialogue have been exhausted and the occupation of Central will definitely happen.” It gave no timeframe for its action.

A spokesman for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388.HK), which operates the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, said contingency planning was taken very seriously. “We have long had a specialist team that coordinates group response plans for scenarios that put at risk the continuing operation of the exchange or threaten the well-being or safety of our staff.”

Hong Kong’s current chief executive Leung Chun-ying said Beijing’s decision represented a major step forward in Hong Kong’s development.

“Universal suffrage for the (chief executive) election through “one person, one vote” by Hong Kong people is not only a big step forward for Hong Kong, but also a historic milestone for our country,” he said, adding people should express their opinion through peaceful and legal methods.

Political reform has been a constant source of friction between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and the mainland since Britain returned the city to China 17 years ago.

In nearby Macau, another special administrative region, leader and sole candidate Fernando Chui was “re-elected” on Sunday by a select panel of 400 largely pro-China loyalists in the tiny but wealthy former Portuguese colony.

GIRDING FOR ACTION

Scores of police vehicles and hundreds of officers were deployed outside Hong Kong government headquarters as people began to gather late on Sunday, braving heavy rain at times, with some chanting slogans.

Key government buildings, including the Chief Executive’s office and a People’s Liberation Army barracks nearby, were also ringed by high fences and barricades.

“It (the NPC decision) leaves no room for us to fight for a genuinely democratic system, and we will begin our campaign for peaceful, non-violent struggle,” said Joseph Cheng, the convener of the Alliance for True Democracy, a coalition of groups advocating universal suffrage in Hong Kong. “We want to tell the world we haven’t given up. We will continue to fight.”

The United States responded cautiously. Commenting on the planned protest, a U.S. official who declined to be identified by name said Washington supports Hong Kong’s “traditions and Basic Law protections of internationally recognized freedoms, including the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

The official also said “the legitimacy of the chief executive will be greatly enhanced if “the election provides the people of Hong Kong a genuine choice of candidates representative of the voters’ will.”

“We understand that the August 31 announcement is just one step in an ongoing process leading to a final decision on election reform in Hong Kong and will continue to watch as the process unfolds,” the official said in Washington.

On the surface, the NPC’s decision is a breakthrough that endorses the framework for the first direct vote by a Chinese city to choose its leader. Beijing is already hailing it as a milestone in democratic reform.

However, by tightly curbing nominations for the 2017 leadership poll, some democrats said Beijing was pushing a Chinese-style version of “fake” democracy.

The NPC statement said all nominations would be carried out according to “democratic procedures” and each candidate would need the endorsement of more than half of a nominating committee that will be similar in composition to an existing 1,200-person election committee stacked with Beijing loyalists.

The proposed electoral framework will still needs to be approved by two-thirds of Hong Kong’s 70-seat legislature. With pro-democracy lawmakers holding more than a third of the seats, the proposal will likely be shelved.

In that case, the next leader would likely again be chosen by a small election committee. Wang Zhenmin, a prominent legal scholar and adviser to the Chinese government, said recently that: “Less perfect universal suffrage is better than no universal suffrage,” adding that this window of opportunity in Hong Kong was an historical crossroads after “2,000 years of (Chinese) feudal history without any democracy.”

Senior Chinese officials have repeatedly warned activists against their “illegal” protests, and say they won’t back down.

Some key members of the pro-democracy movement, including media magnate Jimmy Lai, have also come under pressure in the run-up to the Chinese parliamentary decision.

China has also repeatedly warned against foreign interference, saying it will not tolerate the use of Hong Kong “as a bridgehead to subvert and infiltrate the mainland.”

The Occupy Central movement has not yet won broad support among Hong Kong’s middle class, who are concerned about antagonizing China and disruptions to business. Any strong measures by China or the Hong Kong police could change that.

Source: Reuters “Hong Kong braces for protests as China rules out full democracy”

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China and Hong Kong poised for showdown over democracy


A Chinese national flag is seen in front of the chimney of a heat supply plant in Beijing July 16, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A Chinese national flag is seen in front of the chimney of a heat supply plant in Beijing July 16, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Hong Kong is poised for a showdown with China when the Chinese parliament meets later on Sunday, with the largely rubber-stamp body likely to snuff out hopes for a democratic breakthrough in the regional financial hub at elections due in 2017.
Political reform has been a constant source of friction between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and the mainland since the former British colony was handed back to Communist Party rulers in 1997.

On the surface, the National People’s Congress will likely make a landmark ruling by endorsing the framework for the first direct vote by a Chinese city to choose its leader. Beijing is already hailing it as a milestone in democratic reform.

However, Beijing will tightly curb nominations for the 2017 leadership poll to filter out any candidates it deems unacceptable, said a person with knowledge of the electoral framework. Only two or three “patriotic” candidates will be allowed on the ballot and open nominations will be ruled out. Instead, candidates must be backed by at least 50 percent of a 1,200-person “nominating committee”.

That committee is meant to be “broadly representative” of Hong Kong interests, but will be similar in composition to an existing election committee stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.

It’s a formula that will rile Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, who plan to blockade the city’s Central business district in the coming weeks.

On Saturday, Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK said 5,000 police will be deployed for the “Occupy Central” protest, heightening the sense of unease. The city’s 28,000-strong police force is already on high alert.

An initial protest planned for Sunday evening will be the start of what activists and lawmakers have described as a “full-scale, wave after wave” civil disobedience campaign.

Hong Kong’s democracy advocates remain deeply distrustful of Beijing despite assurances from the mainland.

“Even if we accept a fake democracy model, there’s no assurance at all, that for the next vote, there’ll be real democracy,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, a pro-democracy lawmaker.

Wang Zhenmin, a prominent legal scholar and Chinese government adviser who was flown to Hong Kong by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk about the 2017 election, said it is time for “practical and realistic steps”.

“Less perfect universal suffrage is better than no universal suffrage. Leave some room for future growth,” he said.

WON’T BACK DOWN

The proposed electoral framework will still have to be endorsed by two-thirds of Hong Kong’s 70-seat legislature. With pro-democracy lawmakers holding more than a third of the seats, the proposal will likely be shelved. “We will not accept such a model of fake democracy, and we will vote it down,” Lee said.

Senior Chinese officials have repeatedly warned activists against their “illegal” protests and say they won’t back down.

Some key members of the pro-democracy movement, including media magnate Jimmy Lai, have also come under pressure in the run-up to the Chinese parliamentary decision.

On Friday, China also repeated its warning against foreign interference, saying it will not tolerate the use of Hong Kong “as a bridgehead to subvert and infiltrate the mainland”.

The Occupy Central movement has not yet won broad support among Hong Kong’s middle class, who are concerned about antagonizing China and disruptions to business, but strong measures by China or the Hong Kong police could change that.

“If police use tear gas or water cannon … this (use of) disproportionate force on protesters will generate more support for our civil disobedience campaign,” said Benny Tai, a law professor and one of Occupy Central’s main leaders.

Tai and several other Occupy Central organizers, fearful of arrest, declined to be specific about the timing of their plans but said they also won’t back down. Other action could include a boycott of university classes, wildcat street protests, strikes and a mass refusal to pay taxes.

Major companies and banks in Central, including HSBC, have held drills and have contingency plans for a possible shutdown in coming weeks or months. Ratings agencies and banks have also noted the possibility of China tensions affecting the city’s longer term economic outlook.

Also on Sunday, Fernando Chui is widely expected to be “re-elected” as chief executive of nearby Macau, the tiny but wealthy former Portuguese-run enclave, after the pro-China government stifled an unofficial referendum on democracy.

Chui is the only candidate in the election by a select panel of 400 largely pro-China loyalists. Macau, a casino hub, was returned to China in 1999.

Source: Reuters “China and Hong Kong poised for showdown over democracy”

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  • Beijing Tightening Its Grip of Hong Kong by Various Means dated July 2, 2014
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  • Mass Hong Kong protest looms as democracy push gathers steam dated June 30, 2014
  • China warns of limits to Hong Kong freedom as protests loom dated June 10, 2014
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