Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Thousands call for democracy in Hong Kong

01 July 2013, 18:06

Hong Kong - Thousands of protesters, some waving British colonial-era flags, marched in Hong Kong on Monday to denounce the city's leaders and demand universal suffrage on the 16th anniversary of the territory's handover to China.

Tropical Storm Rumbia brought rain and strong winds as demonstrators bearing banners saying "Democracy now" and "Down with the Chinese Communist Party" started off from the city's landmark Victoria Park to march to the financial district of Central.

The annual rally for democracy comes amid concerns in the southern Chinese city that Beijing is increasingly meddling in local affairs.

A widening income gap and soaring property prices have also contributed to the turnout as protestors focused their anger on unpopular Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

"The main goal of the rally is to push through for genuine democracy and to ask for Leung Chun-ying to step down," Jackie Hung of the Civil Human Rights Front, which is organising the march, said.

The 1 July rally comes after a survey published by the Hong Kong University found that only 33% of Hong Kongers took pride in being a Chinese national, the lowest level since 1998.


Leung was appointed by a pro-Beijing committee last July, promising to improve governance and uphold the rule of law in the territory of seven million people.

He is charged with overseeing the transition to universal suffrage to appoint the city's leader, which was promised by 2017, though critics say little or no progress has been made on the issue as the deadline draws nearer.

"A major task of the current-term government is the implementation of universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017 in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law," Leung said on Monday.

"With the greatest sincerity and commitment, the SAR government will launch a consultation at an appropriate juncture," he added.

"People don't want elections with Chinese characteristics. The government should start consultation now so Hong Kong can have genuine democracy," protester Yeung Yuk, a 28-year-old social worker, said.

According to a poll conducted by the Hong Kong University released last week, Leung's approval rating stands at 46.2%.

Small, rowdy protest

Early on Monday, China's national anthem blared as the Chinese and Hong Kong flags were raised outside the harbour-side Convention Centre in a ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of its handover to China.

A small but rowdy protest took place near the ceremony with demonstrators burning a photograph of Leung and pushing and shoving with police.

"We can feel the anger from the people, people are disappointed with the integrity the chief executive CY Leung and his government. Some officials have already resigned because of scandals and Leung did not fulfil the promise of improving livelihoods of Hong Kong people," said Wong Ho-yin, spokesperson of the Civil Human Rights Front.

Residents are also unhappy about high property prices, which have surged in recent years due to record low interest rates and a flood of wealthy people from mainland China snapping up homes.

The former British colony was returned to Beijing in 1997 but has a semi-autonomous status, with guarantees of civil liberties such as the right to protest which are not found in mainland China.

Commentators on the mainland have become irritated by the increasing use of British-era colonial flags at recent protests, embarrassing Beijing.

"I feel that mainland intervention has reached a level that makes me feel Beijing wants to take over us. I learnt from media that the British governance was much better," 15-year-old student Yu Lap-kan said, as he handed out paper colonial flags at the rally.

Last year, organisers said 400 000 took to the streets in a defiant reception for Leung hours after he was sworn in as chief executive in front of then Chinese president Hu Jintao whose visit took place amid intense security.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
What To Do If She Has A Boyfriend

Here are tips to help you get a girl who has a boyfriend: Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Kalonzo blasts DP Ruto for ‘grabb...

11 Kamba MPs declared their allegiance to Jubilee last month. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
President Uhuru Kenyatta pardons ...

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday released 7,000 petty offenders to create room in the prisons. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Why Mashujaa Day celebrations wer...

Find out why this year's Mashujaa Day celebrations were held in Machakos. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Foods that burn belly fat fast

You can take your best foods and snacks and still be able to get rid of that pot belly. Read more...