Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
Nearly 600,000 Vote in H Kong Primaries07/12 10:52


   HONG KONG (AP) -- Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents turned up 
over the weekend to vote in an unofficial primary election held by the city's 
pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming 
legislative poll.

   The primaries were held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national 
security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping 
away at the "one country, two systems" framework under which Britain handed 
Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year's 
massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.

   Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to vote 
despite a warning last week by Hong Kong's constitutional affairs minister, 
Eric Tsang, that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security 
law because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local 

   Organizers dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the 
government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.

   The new law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or 
terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the 
law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and 
order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be 
in violation of the legislation.

   On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research 
Institute, a co-organizer of the primaries. The computer system was suspected 
of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an 
investigation is ongoing.

   Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is 
attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best 
candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to 
win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the 
pro-Beijing camp.

   To hold the primaries, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd 
funding. They pledged to veto the government's budget if they clinch a majority 
in the legislature. Under Hong Kong's mini-constitution, known as the Basic 
Law, the city's leader must resign if an important bill such as the budget is 
vetoed twice.

   Organizers said Sunday that nearly 600,000 people voted at polling booths 
set up across the city, exceeding organizers' estimates of a turnout of 170,000.

   "Despite the threat of the national security law, there are still nearly 
600,000 people coming out to vote, " said Au Nok-hin, one of the organizers of 
the primaries. "We can see Hong Kongers are really brave."

Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN