Hong Kong handover anniversary prompts citizen protests
July 1, 2013
July 1 marks the date that the United Kingdom handed over sovereignty of Hong Kong, China back to the Chinese government, and is the inspiration behind an annual parade through the city's streets to celebrate the occasion. This year's march, the 16th anniversary of the transfer, saw a great mass of protesters - media estimates range between tens and hundreds of thousands of people - join the march in protest. According to BBC News, the protesters demand that the local government keep its promise of bringing fully democratic elections to the territory by 2017. This major event could be a prominent topic of conversations between Hong Kong citizens and foreign relatives using international calling cards.
Despite being under Chinese rule once again, Hong Kong is known for having a less restrictive society than most of the country. However, the territory's activists, such as lawmaker Albert Ho, believe it is not enough.
"The right to elect a chief executive is a basic political right, which we have been denied for many years," Ho told the news source. "We can't afford to wait any longer."
Those who echo Ho's perspective want assurances that even candidates for Hong Kong's Chief Executive position who are not staunch loyalists to China's central government will have a fair chance during election. The current Chief Executive, Cy Leung, is viewed as a Beijing mouthpiece.
According to the South China Morning Post, numerous citizens were lukewarm or openly critical toward Leung. Publishing-house owner Li Ping Kee told the source that "Cy lies about everything...he is not capable at all," while schoolteacher Lam Chiu Ngam claimed to be "not satisfied" with Leung, but was more forgiving overall and stated, "The only thing I support is Hong Kong itself." Conversely, local trader Chan Long On stated full support for Cy Leung and said the chief executive had done a great deal for the city.