09/15/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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One Hongkonger in two against Beijing's anti-democratic proposal

For 48 per cent of survey participants, pro-democracy lawmakers should vote against mainland China's election law. Thousands of people march in silence and mourning to lift the Occupy Central movement. Professors support student strike and criticise the mainland's openness.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Almost half of the population of Hong Kong wants pro-democracy members of the Legislative Council to vote against Beijing's proposed new electoral law for the Special Region. With 27 seats, the pro-democracy camp can block the draft proposal and refer the matter for further talks in the legislature.

As it stands, mainland China's proposal would prevent the establishment of a truly democratic mechanism to elect the chief executive for 2017. A survey published by the South China Morning Post shows that 48 per cent of Hongkongers polled believe the legislature should not approve the reform plan against 39 per cent who believe it should. Another 13 per cent said they did not know or found it "hard to tell".

Overall, 86 per cent believe the Occupy Central campaign to paralyse the city's business hub to press for more democracy had little or no chance of changing the central or local government's stance on reform. Just 5 per cent said Occupy was likely to force a change.

For Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting, "Beijing has failed to fulfil its promise that Hong Kong can have democracy". At the same time, survey results indicate that a growing number of Hongkongers found an electoral model with political screening unacceptable.

The Occupy movement might not reverse the situation immediately, he said, it was crucial to continue to help nurture Hong Kong's civil society.

To press this point, about 4,000 marchers held on to nine 55-metre banners through the streets, to express their opposition to what China's Communist leaders want to impose on Hong Kong.

"Our drum sounded solemnly beat by beat and many people said it was like a funeral bell," said Occupy Central leader Chan Kin-man. "We're not saying that democracy is dead, we are saying that our government's integrity has died."

In light of this, Occupy organisers are preparing new peaceful forms of protest as part of what they call a lavish "banquet" of democracy. The Hong Kong Federation of Students has in fact called on its members to boycott school starting 22 September.

In a joint statement, some 520 scholars, researchers and administrators vowed to support student class boycotts as part of the drive for true democracy.

They also lashed out at the national legislature's decision last month, which made it possible for an "undemocratically constituted nominating committee to manipulate and control who can become a candidate" for the chief executive.

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