Hong Kongers vote in democracy referendum

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Hong Kongers vote in democracy referendum

    HONG KONG -- Hong Kong citizens cast their ballots in an unofficial referendum on democratic reform Sunday, as booths opened across the territory in a poll that has enraged Beijing and drawn nearly 650,000 votes since it opened online.

    Tensions are growing in the former British colony over the future of its electoral system, with increasingly vocal calls from residents to be able to choose who can run for the post of chief executive.

    Hong Kong's leader is currently appointed by a 1,200-strong pro-Beijing committee. China has promised direct elections for the next chief executive in 2017, but has ruled out allowing voters to choose which candidates can stand.

    Beijing and Hong Kong officials have dismissed the poll as illegal, but participation since voting began online Friday has beaten all expectations — despite a major cyberattack that the organizers have blamed on Beijing.

    On Sunday thousands of voters, some toting umbrellas in the pouring rain, turned out to physically cast their ballots at the 15 polling booths set up around the city.

    “I am just acting in accordance with my conscience and this is for our next generation too. As I am not familiar with computers, I came to the voting booth,” a 68-year-old retired teacher told AFP at a station set up at a teachers' union.

    Another voter, 18-year-old Lau I-lung, said: “I am happy I can use a vote to determine the future system of elections. I think it can make a difference.”

    “People were lining up to vote. It shows that Hong Kong people have a strong desire for genuine democracy,” said Benny Tai, one of the founders of the Occupy Central movement, which organized the ballot.

    The roughly 647,400 who had voted both online and at the polling booths as of Sunday afternoon represent a sizeable chunk of the 3.47 million people who registered to vote at elections held in 2012.

    Voters have until June 29 to cast their ballot either online or at the polling booth.

    'Strong case for reform'

    The poll allows residents to choose between three options on how the 2017 chief executive ballot should be carried out — each of which would allow voters to choose candidates for the top job, and all therefore considered unacceptable by Beijing.

    The “PopVote” website (https://www.popvote.hk/), built by the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, suffered a large-scale attack last week that Tai and the pro-democracy press said could only have been carried out by Beijing.

    Although the unofficial referendum will have no legal effect, activists hope that a high turnout will bolster the case for reform.

    “If the government decided to ignore people's call, indeed there may be a possibility of more radical action. I hope the government does not push Hong Kong people to that point,” Tai told reporters.

    Rimsky Yuen, the city's secretary for justice, on Sunday echoed the official stance that the vote “cannot be regarded as legally binding, let alone be regarded as a so-called 'referendum.'”

    “For that reason, it can only be regarded as no more than an expression of opinion by the general public,” Yuen said.

    Occupy Central, a pro-democracy movement launched by local activists, has threatened to paralyze the city's financial district with thousands of protesters at the end of the year if officials do not produce proposal they find acceptable.

    The group is planning a massive sit-in mimicking the Occupy protests in cities such as New York and London in 2011, to force electoral guarantees from the authorities.

    China's State Council, the equivalent of its cabinet, said Friday that any referendum on how Hong Kong elects its leader has no constitutional basis and would be “illegal and invalid,” state news agency Xinhua reported.

    Outside one polling station, a dozen pro-Beijing activists rallied against the referendum, shouting through loudspeakers at those going into the venue.

    “The referendum is a hoax,” protesters shouted.
    Hong Kongers vote in democracy referendum - The China Post
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    We keep hearing from our Chinese posters that China is now a liberal nation and the people are free to air their views without any fear of the consequences.

    If that were so, how come HK which is a part of China is having a referendum wanting democracy?

    What type of democracy has HK, where they have a Mainland appointed Chief Executive?

    It appears that the ground swell for democracy is very palpable.
     
    Sameet Pattnaik likes this.
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  3. cw2005

    cw2005 Regular Member

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    What is happening in Hong Kong sends mixed information. The Central Government wants to gain experience on democracy so that it might use it to conduct its own reform.

    This is good news and shows the good intention of the Central Government to give freedom to Chinese on a step by step manner.

    On the other hand, China also worries the momentum in Hong Kong becoming too fast to be controlled and might spread into nearby cities that do not as mature as Hong Kong as far as democracy is concern.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    .

    People want to decide for themselves, but then that could be dnagerous.

    That is the problem.

    Fast or slow, it is will mean losing control of the CCP.

    That is what the CCP fears.
     
    Sameet Pattnaik likes this.
  5. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    nice to know Chinese are going democratic way.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Hong Kong wants democracy.

    They have experienced it when HK was a crown colony.

    They are not Communist Chinese in mindset and so this issue.

    PRC will never allow this and thus lose their stranglehold.

    If they allow, it will inflame rest of China.

    Dangerous for the Communists.
     
    Sameet Pattnaik and jus like this.
  7. Compersion

    Compersion Senior Member Senior Member

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    i would not be surprised there is a certain methodology that PRC will want Hong Kong to apply. Also it is only for a period upto 2047. One can takeaway the last few years of that since there would be different discussions at that time and make it for 25 years from today what PRC needs to establish for Hong Kong "democracy". They have already got through 17 years of the 50 years. Can it be managed for the rest - i would not bet against it.

    But there are provisions in the Hong Kong constitution that allows such discussion and positions to take place. These need to be tackled. The interpretation of the provisions if unresolved to the satisfaction of the stakeholders ultimately would need to go to the original drafters even though it is PRC that interprets. The PRC interpretation is when there is doubt but it still needs to go through the hong kong courts and that can be explosive and opinionated. But what happens if the provision is clear and explainable. This is where the fireworks might occur and British join in since it is their right and they were the original group of "drafters" and also gave away land in return for agreeing to those provisions.

    I would be surprised if PRC has not thought of the solution already to Hong Kong that would favor all parties and also to keep such rise of voices, groups and ideas away from the PRC mainland territory.

    The problem is due to leadership and lack of leadership and if PRC fixes that there would be more a development like Singapore where there is one leader for the next decade. If they are "elected" by Hong Kong people under disguise let it be - such experiment have happen in villages in PRC. Hong Kong is too important for PRC and there is huge concentration of non-Chinese assets and systems in Hong Kong that PRC would not like to give away to others.

    Some are saying that PRC has been trapped by Hong Kong with the Hong Kong Constitution and also the limit of the terms for the leaders - hence requiring elections.

    I some how would like to wait for PRC here and see what they decide since they are likely to be pragmatic in resolving the situation and since 1997 it has been pretty good for Hong Kong.

    Apparently the above is part of a larger movement that has its origins and influence from India (nonviolent civil disobedience protest):

    Occupy Central with Love and Peace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    That is the danger for PRC if that is successful it will be a colossal precedent. I would advise PRC to talk and kill that off even before such ideas enter into people mind.

    I also would not be surprised if there are outside support to provide direction and guidance for the above stakeholders. Also it is a principled approach and that is more difficult for PRC to tackle.

    But i dont know - PRC agreed to the Hong Kong Constitution provisions - was it a mistake on their part - lack of understanding. That is a good question - will that be repeated.

    Interesting times ahead.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  8. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Mr.Ray because of globalization more and more Chinese are exposed to the trends that are happening around the world. Also with the emergence of china on the world stage due to rise in income levels more and more Chinese now want liberty and democratic style of Govt. I think ccp also realizes this.

    Democracy is flexible, can be implemented in ccp's own way, may be ccp is experimenting it seems as one poster pointed out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  9. cw2005

    cw2005 Regular Member

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    Ray,

    You have to realise that Hong Kong did not enjoy democracy under British rule. Free, yes. Democracy, no.
     
  10. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    So now you can see: they are free to express their opinion. Now, they are even able to have their own referendum.



    The type of democracy agreed by both Mainland and HK before 1997, no more no less.
     
  11. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    You do realize that each vote in Hong Kong required the internet user to state their name, ID number, and legal Hong Kong address, and more importantly, their time of vote. If I were PRC counterintelligence, I could not think of a better way to draw all the democracy 'early adopters' onto a giant list for later 'targeted' actions - starting with the first ones to vote in each housing block or social network cluster.
     
    Ray likes this.
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I also see that it is Hong Kong and NOT Mainland China.

    Lots of difference, right.

    One Nation, Two Systems!





    That is right. Controlled and Stifled democracy, but some vestiges of democracy still there.
     
  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Actually, Hong Kong being an erstwhile Crown Colony of Great Britain had total democracy and are used to the same.

    That is possibly the reason they do not want the stifling environment of Communist Mainland China.

    CCP has allowed One Nation, Two System because Hong Kong, was and is a huge money spinner for China and the Chinese love money.
     
    Srinivas_K likes this.
  14. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Do enlighten us on what kind of democracy HK had enjoyed as a colony of Britain.

    Sent from my HUAWEI T8951 using Tapatalk 2
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    True that it was not democracy as democracies go, but Hong Kong officials were accountable to a democratically elected government in Britain sensitive to accusations of mismanaging a colony. Local officials often disobeyed London when it was in the local interest—for this reason frustrated Colonial Office mandarins sometimes dubbed the city "The Republic of Hong Kong." For many decades it boasted a higher standard of governance than the mother country.

    That there was democratic norms and freedom of thought and speech during the British is proved by the fact that. the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese (香港華人西醫書院) was founded by the London Missionary Society in 1887, with its first graduate (in 1892) being Sun Yat-sen (孫中山).

    Heard of Sun Yat Sen?

    Would he have been able to do what he did by being on the Mainland?

    It is the air of democracy that made him such a profound reformer and the the originator of modern China.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  16. abhi_the _gr8_maratha

    abhi_the _gr8_maratha Senior Member Senior Member

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    they were having right to have two kids, british never fired tank on them. They were having right to talk against british government.
     
    Ray likes this.
  17. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    ...and they still do have the right to do all these things. The one-child policy does not apply to HK, the PLA does not get involved in HK politics, and there is freedom of speech - so much so that the Falun Gong's and Dalai Lama's Asian publishing arms are based in Hong Kong.
     
  18. jon88

    jon88 Regular Member

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    Wait just one minute. Hong Kong never had the choice to choose their leader(s) during British rule. The governors were all appointed by London. All government posts were appointed by London. Only when Britain agreed to return HongKong to China, they gave the people of HongKong the choice to choose their leaders except for the top post, the governor which was still appointed by London. China agreed to maintain that system for 50 years. But China went a little bit further. China offered a selection of people, which they choose, for the HongKong people to choose for the top post....something that Britain never gave. This is also why Britain, even the US is very silent about pro-democratic movements and the recent referendum voting. Britain, afterall, didn't give HongKong that choice.

    China could still just appoint it's very own chief executive without offering a selection of candidates for Hong Kong to choose and, still abide to the agreement with Britain and it's pledge to the HongKong people. The chief executive can effectively be just like the governor of the colonial days.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  19. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    The nostalgia for British rule or self-rule or hate for the CCP that some HKers have isn't purely borne out of love for democracy.

    From 1949 to 1997, Hong Kong was the main trading and services entrepot between Mainland China and the rest of the world, which poured immense wealth into the local economy and gave all Hong Kongers a better standard of living. Now, Shanghai has taken over most of the physical goods trading role. While Hong Kong's port volume has grown since 1997, Shanghai's has exploded - Shanghai regularly vies with Singapore and Rotterdam for the title of busiest port in the world. Also, domestic HK manufacturing has mostly shifted to Guangdong, Vietnam, and inland China. Meanwhile, HK has specialized in providing financial and professional services to mainland China, and channeling outward Chinese investment into financial and real estate markets. Both industries have bifurcated the city's economy - bankers, consultants, investment advisors, real estate agents, etc are doing very well off those funding flows, but the average Hong Konger isn't. On top of that, the cash has driven up real estate and other prices in the city, which exacerbates the problem of stagnant incomes.

    Hence, large parts of the current generation of Hong Kongers, for the first time since 1949, do not have a better standard of living than their parents. On top of that, their mainland cousins are rapidly closing in on their standard of living while refusing to adopt their mix of Western and Chinese values. Ergo, we see conditions necessary for anti-Chinese sentiment in Hong Kong, and anti-CCP sentiment in particular.
     
  20. jon88

    jon88 Regular Member

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    Basically, all kinds of problems come when there is an economic downturn. HongKong is already within economic saturation point. During colonial times, HongKong was a capitalist haven with its people not even caring who their leader was. HongKong is now more democratic and suddenly capitalist economic activities are not so quick, free and laissez-faire.

    Remember how fast the British planned and built the airport. The present HongKong government can forget about building a new airport within the speed of 5 years with the current democratic environment with multiple interest groups. The British could because HongKong people were more interested in capitalism and not their democratic rights at the early 1990s.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  21. jon88

    jon88 Regular Member

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    Some say why is it that Singapore could maintain a modest growth rate while HongKong could not. Singapore is more authoritarian and its biggest and most influential interest groups are commercial chambers and societies, not rights and environmental groups. Singaporeans are still very capitalistic and very docile politically. Singapore's economic policies can be implemented immediately as democratic rights are secondary to economic rights.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014

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