YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Protests in Hong Kong over election delay

December 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

HONG KONG — Protesters marched, lighted candles and raised banners Saturday in response to Beijing's decision that the former British colony must wait another 10 years before it can directly elect its leader.

Proponents of democracy, who say the bustling financial hub of 7 million people is mature enough to choose its own government, had tried to have the first direct elections held in 2007, then in 2012.

Hundreds of protesters said they were being cheated out of the right to vote.

"We are extremely disappointed -- you could say we are furious -- about this decision in ruling out 2012," Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho told the government-run RTHK radio station. "The wishes of the Hong Kong people have been totally ignored."

Hong Kong's political camps are divided on how hard to push China to make good on its pledge to allow direct elections.

China favors a more gradual approach, partly because it is wary of demands for democracy spilling into parts of the mainland.

"A timetable for obtaining universal suffrage has been set," Hong Kong's leader, Donald Tsang, said in announcing Beijing's decision Saturday. "Hong Kong is entering a most important chapter of its constitutional history."

Currently, only half of the 60-seat legislature is elected, and the territory's top leader, or chief executive, is chosen by an 800-member committee largely composed of Beijing loyalists.

Los Angeles Times Articles