Pro-democracy activists, students and academics in Hong Kong are readying for a long-haul protest against Beijing’s decision to rule out open elections for the city slated for 2017.
University students are likely to go on strike from the middle of this month, which will be the beginning of a “long-term, peaceful, civil disobedience movement,” leading academic and vocal pro-democracy proponent, Joseph Cheng, told HT from HK on Wednesday. Cheng, who teaches political science at the City University HK, said student unions would be at the forefront of the strike and few secondary schools are expected to join the strike.
On Sunday, China ruled out open nominations for electing HK’s leader in the first direct election slated for 2017. Authorities announced that candidates fighting the election will be selected through a nomination committee, which will be a “broadly representative” one.
Cheng said the decision was “harsher and more restrictive than expected” and the election would be entirely controlled by the “pro-Beijing elite”. “They will have absolute majority in the nomination committee,” he said. Many citizens fear that if the Chinese government has its way, HK will become “just another big Chinese city”. The fight is for HK’s spirit, Cheng said, adding under the new rule there will be no meaningful election for the city. HK citizens have staged large-scale pro-democracy – organised by the group known as Occupy Central — protests in recent months.