NEWS – Thousands of Hong Kong Students Free to ‘Strike’ for Democracy 1

Students have been meeting throughout the week to discuss ‘strike’ action as part of the pro-democracy Occupy Central protests. Earlier today, the Hong Kong Federation of Students said a possible week-long walk-out on September 22nd would be their ‘last warning’ if Beijing refuses to budge over its restrictive model for universal suffrage.

Meanwhile, some students attended a protest training session which included an opportunity to experience water canon…

VIDEO – Keeping the Century-old Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dancing

Produced by Urban Diary, below is a beautifully shot short film about the Tai Hang dragon dance currently under way on Hong Kong Island. Residents discuss how they keep the tradition alive despite the ageing community and the area’s rampant gentrification.

For over 100 years, the 67-metre fire dragon has been carried through Tai Hang as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The celebration involves 300 performers, 70,000 incense sticks and countless firecrackers.

BLOG – Britain “Welcomes” Beijing’s Decision on Limiting HK Democracy 2

Days after Beijing dashed any hope of meaningful representation for Hong Kongers, Britain has officially ‘welcomed’ the NPC’s decision…

FCO statement this evening

FCO statement this evening

Despite an effort by British MPs to ‘review’ the implementation of the handover agreement, the Foreign Commonwealth Office’s non-committal statement suggests there is little hope that the current British administration will intervene or ‘police’ its 1984 Joint Declaration with Beijing. 

INTERVIEW – Benny Tai Says Citizens May Elect Their Own Leader in 2017 if Occupy Fails

No Filter interviewIn an interview with Hong Wrong & Francis Moriarty yesterday, Occupy Central organiser Benny Tai reacted to news that Beijing will not allow open elections in Hong Kong and revealed that Hong Kongers may be invited to vote in an unofficial ‘parallel’ election in 2017.

Should the civil disobedience movement fail and Beijing remain unwilling to budge on the issue of universal suffrage, Tai said that a ‘shadow’ chief executive may be chosen by citizens. The referendum infrastructure previously used in an earlier unofficial poll on democracy would be used to elect a popular leaders. Their chosen leader would hold no power and voters may be invited to boycott the official election.

Tai also admitted that those who partake in the upcoming civil disobedience activities risk arrest. Protests, rallies and class boycotts are planned by the pro-democracy movement over the coming days and weeks.

PHOTOGRAPHY – Occupy Central is ON as Organisers Declare an “Era of Disobedience”

Occupy Central leaders officially launched their civil disobedience campaign outside government headquarters tonight in Admiralty.

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As of this evening, student protesters from the ‘Scholarism’ movement are gathered outside the Hyatt hotel in Wanchai, where the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Deputy Secretary-General and Basic Law Committee Chairman Li Fei is believed to be staying.

BLOG – HK in Breach of International Law as Open Elections Ruled Out 1

Beijing has confirmed that Hong Kongers will not be allowed to select their own candidates for the city’s 2017 election. Only two or three candidates will be allowed to stand and each will require the support of half of a 1,200 strong nominating committee.

Article 45 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, states that the city’s leader should eventually be selected by “universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures”. However, democracy activists argue that the nominating committee will not be reflective of local opinion. Furthermore, Beijing has sought to postpone and redefine its take on ‘democracy’ and ‘universal suffrage’ since the 1997 handover.

In 1993, the then director of the Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office clarified that Hong Kong would be able to independently decide the nature of its democratic election system…

Lu Ping speaking in 1993

Lu Ping speaking in 1993

Three years later, then Prime Minister of Britain, John Major, promised action should China fail to live up to its handover promise.

NEWS – ‘Last Resort’ Occupation Demos to Go Ahead as Beijing Rules Out Open Elections

Occupy Central conveners Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming will join other members of the pro-democracy movement tonight to launch a series of peaceful civil disobedience actions across the city. The ‘last resort’ action comes as the National People’s Congress in Beijing stated that Hong Kongers will not be allowed to pick their own candidates for the city’s 2017 election.

NPC statement

Click for the full text of the NPC statement

Instead, the number of candidates able to stand will be capped at two or three and each will require the support of half of a 1,200 strong nominating committee. The majority of the committee will likely be made up of pro-Beijing figures, effectively barring candidates who are not ‘patriots’ who “love China”.

The statement said that “the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the sovereignty, security,and development interests of the country are at stake.”

BLOG – Legislators Politicise ‘Ice Bucket’ Stunt As Netizens Urge ‘Shit Bucket Challenge’

Regular Hong Kongers, celebrities and politicians have been taking to the popular ice bucket challenge in aid of ALS (or Motor Neurone Disease) charities.

Most noteworthy was actor/singer Andy Lau’s video, which certainly won the award for ‘most over-produced’…

One-time Chief Executive hopeful Henry Tang also took part. Tang missed an opportunity to douse himself in wine but nevertheless pulled off the challenge with good humour…