Universal suffrage (also universal adult suffrage, general suffrage or common suffrage) consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens (or subjects), though it may also mean extending that right to minors (Demeny voting) and non-citizens. Although suffrage has two necessary components, the right to vote and opportunities to vote, the term universal suffrage is associated only with the right to vote and ignores the frequency that an incumbent government consults the electorate. Where universal suffrage exists, the right to vote is not restricted by race, sex, belief, wealth, or social status….Wikipedia
Exactly one week ago, fed up, with not having their say when it comes to electing their leaders, more than 13,000 college students who attend universities across Hong Kong launched a weeklong boycott of classes.
Calling for democracy, the students staged a sit-in and protests at the Chinese University of Hong Kong joined this past Friday by high school students.
Also joining the student protest this weekend was Benny Tai, a co-founder of Occupy Central of Love and Peace, a pro-democracy organization and his supporters.
Their demands simple: universal suffrage; namely, the rights to elect and to be elected which is not how Hong Kong bureaucratic puppets for Beijing see it.
One month ago, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress announced that a ruling that only candidates approved by a nominating committee will be allowed to run in Hong Kong’s next chief executive election to be held 2017.
The Standing Committee will select the candidates, which must be then approved by more than half of the nominating committee whose loyalties lie with Beijing and therein lays the problem.
A week of sit-ins led to protests around government buildings in Hong Kong’s financial district and as police moved in to remove protesters, the situation escalated.
Channel News Asia
Lines of police officers pushed back surges of people with riot shields after earlier clearing dozens who had stormed into the grounds late Friday, as the protests against Beijing’s recent announcement it would choose who can stand for Hong Kong chief executive in the 2017 elections turned angry.
During the protest Occupy Central, a prominent grassroots pro-democracy group, announced it was bringing forward its plan to rally thousands of activists and take over key parts of the city’s financial district.
The ‘takeover’ had been expected to begin on October 1, but in a dramatic speech at the protest early Sunday morning, the group’s co-founder Benny Tai said: “Occupy Central starts now.” Many in the largely youthful crowd, which had swelled to several thousand with a number of scuffles breaking out with police, also pledged to keep the protest open-ended unless Hong Kong was granted more freedoms….
Read full article
Tai who many students are accusing of hijacking their movement is promising to continue the “civil disobedience campaign unless Beijing grants more political freedoms.”
South China Morning Post
‘I’ve got a long-awaited message. Occupy Central will start now,’ Tai declared to thousands gathered in Admiralty.
The first step of the movement was to occupy the government headquarters, he said: ‘Students and people who support democracy has begun a new era of civil disobedience.’
The news of the long-awaited protest sparked friction in some quarters, with some students simply packing up and going home, despite the fact the two movements share the same aims in urging Beijing to loosen its strict package of political reforms and give Hongkongers the power to elect their own chief executive….
Amnesty International condemned the violence used against the protesters.
On Friday night, a week-long sit-in by thousands of students culminated in a group of protesters entering the fenced-off Civic Square in front of the local government’s headquarters, while thousands continued to demonstrate outside.
The police reacted by using pepper spray inside and outside of the square and carrying out arrests. Around 70 people remained boxed-in by police in the square overnight and were arrested on Saturday afternoon.
‘The police response to events on Friday night is a disturbing sign that the Hong Kong authorities will take a tough stance against any peaceful protest blocking the financial district,’ said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.
‘The quick use of pepper spray, deployment of riot police in full gear and arrests at government headquarters does not bode well for the potentially massive protests expected this week. All those being held solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be immediately and unconditionally released.’
Organizers of the Occupy Central movement have called for up to 10,000 protesters to block the financial district in the centre of Hong Kong on 1 October, China’s National Day. The protesters are angry about Beijing’s recent decision on how ‘universal suffrage’ is to be implemented in the territory, which they fear will rule out fully democratic elections in 2017….
Earlier in the day…
Published on Sep 28, 2014 by Wall Street Journal
Hong Kong’s Occupy Central pro-democracy protesters clash with police outside of government headquarters for Occupy Central on day three of the standoff. WSJ’s Thomas DiFonzo reports from the ground.
Wall Street Journal
It appears that Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, were caught off guard by the passion of the young protesters who fear that their liberties are being eroded.
New York Times
Several democratic politicians in Hong Kong said the unexpected strength of the young protesters had persuaded an older generation to cede more influence to student activists, who seem less open to compromise with authoritarian Beijing.
‘What happened since yesterday was beyond our expectation,’ Albert Ho, 62, a member of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong’s Legislature, said in an interview late Saturday.
‘Now the younger people have taken control and used their advantage of surprise,’ Mr. Ho said at an exuberant rally attended by thousands of people, mostly in their 20s or younger, in front of the city government offices. ‘This is something that will deeply concern the government….’
Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, the former British colony has kept its independent courts and legal protections for free speech and assembly, as well as a robust civil society. But many democratic groups and politicians say those freedoms have eroded under mainland China’s growing political and economic influence….
Plainly put, the government in Hong Kong is taking direction from China who views the protests as illegal. Enter teargas and bataans.
As told by social media:
Sources: Amnesty International, Channel News Asia, South China Morning Post SCMP.