Why Anti-China Sentiment is On The Rise in Hong KongPosted: September 5, 2016
Elections for the Hong Kong Legislative Council were held Sunday with near-record turnout in the city. Many are voting for younger, more democratic candidates who want to become more independent from increasingly authoritative mainland China.
Weston Williams reports: In 1997, when Hong Kong underwent its “handover” from the British government to China, the deal carried with it the promise that, for the next 50 years at least, the former British colony would be largely autonomous from the Chinese mainland. The historic agreement created an unusual bond between the largely democratic island and the authoritarian communist state of which it is now a part.
In recent years, however, the handover that created “one country, two systems” has been called into question, as mainland China has increasingly tried to impose its will on the city.
On Sunday, these questions were brought to the forefront as Hong Kong voters turned out in near-record numbers to decide this term’s members of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo). Pro-democracy candidates hope to win enough seats to resist the pro-Beijing establishment in the first election following the student-led “Umbrella Movement” protests in 2014.
At least by Chinese standards, LegCo is a significantly democratic institution. The council consists of 70 seats that accept both pro-Beijing politicians as well as the “pan-democrats,” politicians who support the idea that the civil liberties enjoyed under the British can be preserved only through democratic action. But of those 70 seats, only 40 are directly elected by citizens of Hong Kong. According to the Economist, the remaining 30 seats belong to “functional constituencies,” which are chosen by groups representing business interests, professionals, and rural communities. The design of the constituencies has ensured that the majority of LegCo legislators have been pro-Beijing since the handover.
According to Reuters, Hong Kong’s pan-democratic opposition currently controls just 27 seats in LegCo, giving it the power to block policies and some laws, but little else. While Hong Kong enjoys a great deal more freedom and democratic leeway than mainland China, many citizens feel the Beijing holds too much sway in city elections.
“It is an open secret that they [Beijing] … pull strings, they make threats, they plant votes,” Anson Chan, a former senior Hong Kong official, told Business Insider.
Beijing’s string-pulling in Hong Kong is nothing new. But mainland China seems to…(read more)
- Hong Kong election: Anti-China activists set to take LegCo seats (bbc.co.uk)
- AP PHOTOS: Vandalized Posters Ahead of Hong Kong’s Elections (abcnews.go.com)
- Hong Kong Goes to Polls Amid Grave Warnings Over City’s Freedoms (smalljournal.press)
- easypaperhub ” 2nd Speaker Debate Speech “Universal Suffrage Brings Social Stability Essay (easypaperhub.com)
- The Umbrella Movement Fights Back (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Young activists take on China in key Hong Kong election (channelnewsasia.com)
- Hong Kong: Rooftopping for freedom and disobedience (aljazeera.com)
- Hong Kong vote sees record turnout; ‘Umbrella Revolution’ leader set for election – CNN (edition.cnn.com)