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Hong Kong democracy legislator berated over voting plan

Hong Kong police had to rescue a prominent lawmaker after he was surrounded by youths who accused him at a public forum of betraying the city`s drive for democracy.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong police Sunday had to
rescue a prominent lawmaker after he was surrounded by youths
who accused him at a public forum of betraying the city`s drive for democracy.

Albert Ho, a prominent lawmaker, had to be escorted by
police from Victoria Park, where he had attended a forum on an
electoral reform package that will be debated in Hong Kong`s
Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

Ho, who was unharmed, left in his car under a police
escort. One officer was pushed to the ground during the
chaotic scene, local radio reported.

"It was no big deal -- just angry youths who expressed a
lot of dissatisfaction and anger over my political position,"
the veteran lawmaker told AFP after the incident.

"But this is a way for us to break the deadlock (on
political reform) and move forward," he added.

Ho had angered the youths by supporting a plan to raise
the number of directly elected representatives in the
legislative assembly, where half the number of seats are
currently filled by Beijing-approved candidates.

The city`s government will unveil a reform plan tomorrow,
and it was reported today that a compromise, approved by both
Beijing and most of the assembly`s pro-democrats, had made its
approval on Wednesday likely.

At present, only half of Hong Kong`s 60 legislative seats
are directly elected by voters. The rest are picked by
so-called "functional constituencies" which consist mostly of
pro-Beijing professional elites.

The new plan, proposed by Ho`s Democratic Party, which
has nine seats in the assembly, will allow a further five
lawmakers to be directly elected to the functional
constituency seats, according to the Sunday Morning Post.

Critics lambasted Tsang`s original plan because it
stopped short of one-person, one-vote and proposed only an
increase in the size of the assembly and the Beijing-appointed
committee that chooses the city`s chief executive.

Democracy figurehead Martin Lee said the revised plan is
a "huge improvement" on the government`s original blueprint,
but warned that it did nothing to clarify how Hong Kong would
achieve universal suffrage.

"This is a huge improvement on the government`s plan --
there`s no doubt about that," he told AFP. "But we must be
careful and look to the future."

Beijing has said that, at the earliest, universal
suffrage can be ushered in for the election of Hong Kong`s
chief executive in 2017 and the legislative assembly in 2020.

That timetable has been criticised by the pro-democracy
camp in Hong Kong, which was returned to Chinese sovereignty
in 1997 amid assurances from Beijing of broad autonomy for the


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