China and Hong Kong poised for showdown over democracy – BY JAMES POMFRET HONG KONG Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:04am EDT


A Chinese national flag is seen in front of the chimney of a heat supply plant in Beijing July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A Chinese national flag is seen in front of the chimney of a heat supply plant in Beijing July 16, 2014.

(Reuters) – Hong Kong is poised for a showdown with China when the Chinese parliament meets later on Sunday, with the largely rubber-stamp body likely to snuff out hopes for a democratic breakthrough in the regional financial hub at elections due in 2017.

Political reform has been a constant source of friction between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and the mainland since the former British colony was handed back to Communist Party rulers in 1997.

On the surface, the National People’s Congress will likely make a landmark ruling by endorsing the framework for the first direct vote by a Chinese city to choose its leader. Beijing is already hailing it as a milestone in democratic reform.

However, Beijing will tightly curb nominations for the 2017 leadership poll to filter out any candidates it deems unacceptable, said a person with knowledge of the electoral framework. Only two or three “patriotic” candidates will be allowed on the ballot and open nominations will be ruled out. Instead, candidates must be backed by at least 50 percent of a 1,200-person “nominating committee”.

That committee is meant to be “broadly representative” of Hong Kong interests, but will be similar in composition to an existing election committee stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.

It’s a formula that will rile Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, who plan to blockade the city’s Central business district in the coming weeks.

On Saturday, Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK said 5,000 police will be deployed for the “Occupy Central” protest, heightening the sense of unease. The city’s 28,000-strong police force is already on high alert.

Article continues:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/31/us-china-hongkong-idUSKBN0GU04M20140831

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s