Hong Kong protestors square off in democracy debate

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - 23:34

Hong Kong: Thousands of protestors chanting
slogans and blaring vuvuzelas faced off today as Hong Kong
legislators debated a controversial plan to enact limited
political reforms in the Chinese territory.

Police surrounded the legislature with barricades and
scores of officers kept pro-democracy and pro-Beijing
activists apart as lawmakers inside thrashed out the plan,
which would give voters a bigger say in Hong Kong`s running.
After weeks of political manoeuvring, the reform plan is
likely to be adopted by the legislature although critics
complain it does not go far enough and are calling for full
democracy for the city of seven million people.

"Officials say the vote will mark a historic moment for
Hong Kong. But how come Hong Kong people are not involved in
this historic moment? How come they are not consulted?"
pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said.

The vote was adjourned tomorrow after the debate dragged
on late today evening.

Lawmakers in support of the plan were mobbed by
pro-democracy campaigners as they left the Legislative Council
building escorted by police officers after the meeting.

"Shameful! Shameful!" the protesters shouted, pointing
their fingers and throwing waste paper at the legislators.

Hong Kong, which was handed over by Britain in 1997, has
a legal and administrative system independent from mainland
China but its constitutional development falls under communist
Beijing`s control.
While the financial and trading hub in southern China has
some direct democracy, power ultimately rests in the hands of
a Beijing-backed chief executive and business elites.

The reform plan has split the opposition camp. Moderates
from the Democratic Party, whose support looks set to ensure
the plan`s passage, were condemned by harder-line lawmakers
who want a firm timetable for universal suffrage.


First Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - 23:34

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