Thousands of Hong Kong residents gathered at a New Year’s Day rally to voice demands to the CPC for open elections in 2017.
When China had gained control of the former British colony in 1997, a goal was set for direct elections to be implemented there by 2017. Under the current system, all nominees must be endorsed by a 1,200-strong pro-Beijing committee.
Protesters at the annual New Year’s Day democracy rally shouted slogans demanding full democracy in 2017, with a key condition being the open nominations of candidates so that anyone, including China critics, can run for office.
“There’s more and more interference (from Beijing),” a protestor at the rally told Reuters. “We have to come out to make our voices heard. The form of democracy Beijing wants is unacceptable. It’s fake.”
The continuing battle could potentially amount to a protest this summer called “Occupy Central”. According to the Washington Post, the campaign threatens to rally over 10,000 people to block the streets in Hong Kong’s central business district from July onward if Beijing refuses the open nomination process.
“Hong Kong’s political future has now come to a critical moment,” Johnson Yeung, one of the rally organizers, said to Reuters. “The 2014 New Year’s Day rally will become the first field of battle between the public and the government.”