The annual July 1 march in Hong Kong marks the handover of the British colony to Beijing that took place in 1997. The peaceful demonstration has become a rallying point for pro-democracy activists to voice out political reforms and other relevant issues. The march captured the public’s attention in 2003, when half a million marched, angered by proposed national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law.
As Hong Kong marks its 16th anniversary of its turnover to China, hundreds of thousands protested against the City’s unpopular Chief Executive, Leung Chun-Ying. Protesters ragingly clamored for genuine democracy and equal treatment for its fellow countrymen under Hong Kong’s current administration.
Some of the issues that people of Hong Kong wanted tackled were the universal suffrage, Leung’s resignation, and narrowing the wealth gap.
Leung Chu-Ying was appointed by a pro-Beijing committee last year, promising to uphold and improve governance and raise the rule of law in the former British colony. He is also charged with taking over and overseeing the transition to universal suffrage which the city was promised by year 2017.
People of Hong Kong cry for a universal suffrage and true political reform as no progress has been made on the issue.
Plagued by scandals from the beginning, Leung’s administration has been constantly criticized because of his illegal construction and structure at his luxury home. Controversies were also playing within the administration’s internal corrupt patronage system.
It is evident that mostly people of Hong Kong may be materialistic, as how the world sees the city. However, that should not be the final judgment of its current political and economical state. Residents are unhappy over property prices which have surged over the past years to record low interest rates and a bunch of wealthy people from Mainland snapping up homes, while widening income inequality has become a cause of primary concern ans issue.
Like any other leaders, it is highly important to recognize how the confidence and trust of your people remain relevant for you to stay in power. Hong Kong University showed Leung’s approval rating, which declined to 46.2% despite of the Chief Executive’s self-published report card indicating and proving how much he has done for the people of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s Electoral System
Hong Kong Basic Law serves as the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China. In Annex I of the law, it provides the creation of the Election Committee that serves as a political electoral college, whose function is to select the Chief Executive.
The 1,200-member Election Committee, which commenced its term of office on 1 February 2012, is composed of 1,044 members elected from 35 subsectors, 60 members nominated by the religious subsector and 96 ex-officio members, who are members of the Legislative Council or Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress.
This enters where people of Hong Kong are not given political rights to choose their leaders and have been wanting genuine democracy and political reform. Thus, the election committee has no legitimacy in the eyes of the general public.
Below are some Tweets by people around the globe sharing their sentiments about Hong Konger’s push for genuine democracy and political reform in celebration of this year’s handover anniversary.
So happy independence-day/handover-anniversary Hong Kongers! I hope one day you get the freedom from Beijing-oppression that you long for 😦
— Emma-Louise Gray (@emma_louise001) July 1, 2013
— Mushfique Mohamed (@mushfique_) July 1, 2013
Back to HK for the march. "Celebrating" the 16th anniversary of handover. pic.twitter.com/Du3GZDftND
— Brian Ho 何智權 (@brianckho) July 1, 2013
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