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Democracy has limits? Hong Kong braces for protests over democracy

Pro-democracy protesters disrupt a speech given by a Beijing official explaining voting changes for the territory


Hong Kong is in the midst of a political upheaval as activists in the former British colony push for full democracy. Beijing has said local citizens can vote on future leaders, but only for pre-screened candidates.

Last Sunday’s move by the Chinese government to rule out open nomination of candidates for the chief executive election in 2017 has sparked anger among pro-democracy groups.external link

The question of how Hong Kong should choose its next leader has been the focus of attention in recent months, leading to several protests and large-scale rallies from both pro-democracy and pro-Beijing sides.

China had promised that the people in Hong Kong, whose chief executive has in the past been chosen by a small group of the elite, would be able to elect their leader by 2017.

But on Sunday it said candidates would need the support of more than 50% of a nominating committee to run, and that only two or three would be chosen.

Following Beijing’s publication in June of a white paper outlining China's authority over Hong Kong, democracy activists held an unofficial referendum on voting in the “special administrative region”, and hundreds of thousands marched to the city’s business district and staged a sit-in.

China has meanwhile defended its plansexternal link to place limits on democracy in Hong Kong, calling on opposition lawmakers to get behind its ruling.

The New York Timesexternal link said in an analysis piece on Monday that democrats in Hong Kong now face tough choices after threatening to disrupt Asia’s most important financial center with a sit-in protest.

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