Category Archives: Hong Kong Democracy

Hong Kong daily Sing Pao says its journalists and website are under attack

New York, February 22, 2017–The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Hong Kong authorities to investigate the harassment of journalists at the daily Sing Pao. Sing Pao Media Enterprises, which owns the paper, released a statement yesterday saying that staff have been followed and harassed, and that the newspaper’s computer system was attacked. Continue reading

Human Rights in Hong Kong at Lowest Point Since 1997 Handover: Amnesty

Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law

Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law shows photos of his bruises following an attack by pro-Beijing protesters, Jan. 9, 2017. RFA

Human rights in Hong Kong deteriorated to their lowest point ever last year, according to an annual report by Amnesty International. Continue reading

Richard C. Bush: Hong Kong in the Shadow of China- Living with the Leviathan

bush_hong-kong-oct-7A close-up look at the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong in the Shadow of China is a reflection on the recent political turmoil in Hong Kong during which the Chinese government insisted on gradual movement toward electoral democracy, and hundreds of thousands of protesters occupied major thoroughfares to push for full democracy now. Fueling this struggle is deep public resentment over growing inequality and how the political system—established by China and dominated by the local business community—reinforces the divide been those who have profited immensely and those who struggle for basics such as housing. Continue reading

China Hardens Position Against Hong Kong Booksellers

Michael Lipin, July 14, 2016 12:00 AM
Freed Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee, right, is accompanied by pro-democracy lawyer Albert Ho after giving a news conference in Hong Kong

Freed Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee, right, is accompanied by pro-democracy lawyer Albert Ho after giving a news conference in Hong Kong, June 16, 2016.

China is toughening its position in the case of five Hong Kong booksellers it detained last year for publishing books critical of Chinese leaders.

Continue reading

Chinese Police Want Outspoken Bookseller Lam to Return to the Mainland

Lam Wing-kei

Returned bookseller Lam Wing-kei speaks to RFA in Hong Kong, June 20, 2016. RFA

Police in China’s eastern city of Ningbo have called on bookseller Lam Wing-kee, whose explosive revelations of eight months in Chinese detention rocked his native Hong Kong, to return to the mainland to cooperate with an investigation. Continue reading

Hong Kong Journalists Warn Over ‘Grave Threat’ to City’s Freedoms

Members of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association display their annual report, July 3, 2016

Members of the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association display their annual report, July 3, 2016. RTHK

Journalists in Hong Kong have called on the city’s government to do much more to protect press freedom, citing a “grave threat” to its traditional freedoms of expression and association. Continue reading

Tens of Thousands March in Hong Kong, Police Fire Pepper Spray

Protesters call for resignation of Hong Kong's chief executive, July 1, 2016

Protesters call for resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive, July 1, 2016. Photo courtesy of Ling Guo Li

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong on Friday to call for the resignation of the city’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying, as a bookseller recently detained by China for selling ‘banned books’ to mainland Chinese customers withdrew from the demonstration, citing fears for his personal safety. Continue reading

Hong Kong Protest March Seen as Test of Views Toward Beijing

A protester holds an umbrella during a performance on a main road in the occupied areas outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty in Hong Kong, Oct. 9, 2014

A protester holds an umbrella during a performance on a main road in the occupied areas outside government headquarters in Hong Kong’s Admiralty in Hong Kong, Oct. 9, 2014.

Thousands of people will take to the streets in Hong Kong Friday for an annual protest march that has been a closely watched barometer of how the city’s seven million people feel about Beijing and their local government.Many Hong Kong residents are unhappy both with the territory’s chief executive, CY Leung, and with the central government in Beijing, to which he is perceived as beholden. The size of the march will be seen as a marker of public sentiment. The most recent public opinion survey indicates the chief executive’s approval rating at 19 percent, with 62 percent disapproving.

Organizers are giving the march a twin theme: Prevent CY Leung from getting a second term of office, and demonstrate anger over the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The latter has been highlighted by the case of five local booksellers who were taken into custody by mainland authorities and held inside China for months.

Lam Wing-kee, a bookseller who has managed to returned to Hong Kong, described his seven months in virtual solitary confinement and interrogation as “mental torture.”

Lam will lead Friday’s protest march, flanked by Ching Cheong, a journalist for Singapore’s Straits Times who spent three years in a mainland prison, and by Lau San-ching, a pro-democracy dissident who spent 10 years in jail in China after bringing books and clothing to the mainland in 1981.

Public sentiment has turned increasingly sour over the booksellers’ case, which strikes at the heart of the one-country, two-systems formula under which Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy, and personal freedoms are protected by the Common Law system and a Bill of Rights Ordinance that incorporates international rights covenants.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying arrives at a news conference

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying arrives at a news conference.

CY Leung’s electoral mandate as chief executive derives from a 1,200-member body, largely handpicked by Beijing. This has given rise to a common nickname for him – 689 – the total number of votes he received when elected by the body in 2012. His term of office ends next year.

Jackie Hung, vice-chairperson of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organizes the annual march, told VOA they are urging the ouster of “689” and the scrapping of the “small-circle” election system that chose him.

They are also expressing concern over the erosion of Hong Kong’s promised autonomy. She said the three men leading the march were chosen because “they were imprisoned in China before, and only because they were trying to exercise their basic rights.”

Lee Cheuk-yan, a trade unionist and vice-chairman of the Labour Party, has helped organize the yearly protest since its inception.

“The theme is that CY Leung is very much kowtowing to Beijing and executing the orders from Beijing, instead of protecting the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, and also that C.Y. Leung has been causing a lot of social division — and there’s a big anger among the people of Hong Kong against this chief executive, which is very harmful for our development, very harmful for one-county, two-systems,” said Lee Cheuk-yan.

The march also takes place ahead of September’s legislative elections. Hong Kong voters elect 40 of the legislature’s 70 seats. The remaining 30 are chosen from among professional bodies (in some of these constituencies only corporations can cast ballots).

The upcoming election will include a number of new, young parties that have formed since the student-led Umbrella Movement demonstrations that paralyzed parts of central Hong Kong for 79 days in 2014.

An umbrella with pro-democracy messages above the student-led protest site in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

An umbrella with pro-democracy messages above the student-led protest site in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

One of these new parties is Demosisto, headed by two of the Umbrella Movement’s young leaders, Joshua Wong and Nathan Law. Wong is 18 years old and is deciding whether to appeal a recent court ruling that one cannot be a candidate for office until the age of 21. Law is already 21 and is widely expected to stand for the legislature.

Wong told VOA the booksellers’ case would be an important part of Demosisto’s election campaign. “What we hope is to fight for the (sic) freedom, and also it’s necessary to protect the safety of every HK people,” he said. “If the booksellers have been kidnapped, we are not sure who will be kidnapped in the future.”

Law agreed that the worry over personal security would bring more people out for the parade. Already a seasoned organizer, the budding politician also saw another reason for a large turnout.

“I believe it’s a major event for Hong Kong people to know more about the civic organizations. For each year, there are hundreds of organizations in the July 1 rally and, including myself, I am inspired by all those organizations working for human rights and democracy for Hong Kong. I believe that’s a really, really important civic education for Hong Kong people,” he said.

The size of a July 1 turnout can have real political consequence.

In 2003, more than a half-million angry citizens marched for several hours in stifling heat, eventually driving Hong Kong’s first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, out of office before his second five year term ended.