Hong Kong is sliding ever closer towards open confrontation as pro-democracy protesters take to the streets over what they perceive as China’s refusal of previously promised democratic freedom.
The Chinese government had previously pledged to grant Hong Kong citizens “universal suffrage” by 2017, but yesterday announced all candidates for the territory’s chief minister would be first vetted by Beijing.
In response, the deputy secretary-general of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, Li Fei, was earlier today heckled by protesters at a speaking engagement.
The perceived broken promise has forced thousands onto the streets in protest, with an Occupy Central movement springing up with a vow to hold the Chinese government to account with a campaign of civil disobedience.
Backed by media magnate Jimmy Lai, a critic of many of Beijing’s policies, the movement plans to block off the Hong Kong financial district.
The US government has backed Hong Kong’s bid for full democractic rights.
However, there are also a number of pro-Beijing groups in Hong Kong who have rallied against the Occupy movement.
Beijing’s version of universal suffrage still needs to be approved by two thirds of the city’s legislature after a fresh round of public consultation.
Pan-democrat lawmakers have vowed to vote against the package because it does not go far enough.
But Beijing has insisted that failure to pass its version of universal suffrage by 2017 will result in the city’s next leader being chosen as they always have – by a pro-Beijing committee.
Additional reporting by AFP.
© ninemsn 2014
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