July 01, 2004
Hong Kong March
I expect there will be updates on this post through the afternoon.
It is another typical HK summer day: hot and humid. However the anticipated bad weather has not arrived and shouldn't impact the numbers turning up for the march. Interestingly this morning's SAR Handover ceremony was quiet, with Tung Che-hwa saying ""According to the Basic Law (Hong Kong's mini-constitution), to achieve universal suffrage gradually is our common goal." There were no major Chinese dignitaries, partly to avoid confronting this afternoon's protest and partly to keep the Mainland Chinese media away from HK today.
Some of the news services have lead-up articles:
Reuters: HK Readies for Huge Democracy March
As a contrast the China papers:
Certainly despite being a public holiday the streets seem unusually quiet today.
One interesting article is in the Taipei Times: Hong Kong 'no model for Taiwan'. China did itself no favours with Taiwan in its handling the HK democracy issue and Taiwan will be closely watching how events progress. However talk of HK being a successful template for an eventual re-unification with China has been replaced by suspicion and distrust. China's actions to date have spoken louder than their words.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting article in Business Day:
Hong Kong people treasure their personal liberties and they expect their local government to protect their freedoms vigorously. What is new is that Hong Kong's citizens are prepared to do something about their political concerns.It is by a member of Civic Exchange, a pro-democracy think tank.
This Guardian article looks at some of the intimidation tactics used against HK democrats recently and summarises the changing politics of the democracy situation.
ABC Australia reports hackers have tried to disrupt the event by sending hoax emails saying the event has been cancelled.
UPDATE 2:Xinhua have a story on the handover day celebrations. It is a report of Tung Che-Hwa's remarks at the ceremony today and includes:
Tung said the government has indeed improved its governance though there are still inadequacies that need further improvement...He said that Hong Kong is blessed to be back with the motherland as the Chinese mainland takes off.Curiously they overlooked the 300,000 gathering in Victoria Park, just down the road.
UPDATE 3: The march has actually started half an hour early at around 2:30pm and while it is hard to tell, at this stage it looks like the 300,000 target will be met and perhaps exceeded.
Reuters has a report from the march.
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people dressed in white poured onto the streets on Thursday to vent their frustration at Chinese rule and challenge Beijing's refusal to allow them to elect their own leaders.
UPDATE 4: Word is numbers are looking more like the 200,000 to 250,000 mark instead of 300,000 but no official word.
Click to embiggen.
Other pictures in the extended entry.
UPDATE 5:Even Al-Jazeera is covering this.
Channel News Asia is putting the numbers at around 250,000. Hong Kong has a population of about 7.5 million, so that is 3.33% of the city turning up to march.
Bloomberg and AFP are also reporting the 250,000 figure. The Singapore Straits Times is estimating the numbers as more than 200,000. The Guardian has a PA report with numbers at only 60,000 - clearly the wrong number. Was the reporter actually their today? Obviously not.
AFP has a good photo here.
With that it's time for me to go and join the masses. The interesting part will be Beijing's reaction. Does the more moderate tone end now the march is over or do they continue with their carrot-and-stick approach?
Some images from AP:
posted by Simon on 07.01.04 at 02:05 PM in the Hong Kong democracy/politics
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Power to the People
Excerpt: I'm sure you've all heard about the massive march in Hong Kong. Let me just say that it is simply amazing. I know the phrase "Power to the People" has become a cliche, but really, how else can you describe the actions of Hong Kong citizens against th...
Weblog: The Asia Pages
Tracked: July 1, 2004 10:32 PM
Hong Kong wants freedom
Excerpt: © Reuters via
Tracked: July 2, 2004 07:52 PM
I believe it's Civic Exchange, with a 'c'.posted by: hk on 07.01.04 at 05:02 PM [permalink]
Thanks I've changed it.posted by: Simon on 07.01.04 at 05:13 PM [permalink]
Good coverage Simon.posted by: Phil on 07.01.04 at 11:43 PM [permalink]
Very nice coverage Simon. Of course I couldn't see or hear a word of it here in China except on the 'net.
Last night on Fox News they ran stock footage from last year's march. One of the images showed a young man wearing a Che tee-shirt protesting the Communist rule. Makes you think.posted by: Rusty Shackleford on 07.02.04 at 01:48 AM [permalink]
Thanks for the kind words.
Rusty: It's just another example that Che is now a brand that has lost its meaning. Either that or we've cornered the market in irony.posted by: Simon on 07.02.04 at 10:46 AM [permalink]