December 3, 2007


One for the Democrats in Hong Kong (PETER RITTER, 12/03/07, TIME)

It has been a tumultuous autumn for Hong Kong's democrats. In local elections two weeks ago, the democrats — who support universal suffrage for the quasi-autonomous Chinese territory — were soundly thrashed by parties loyal to Beijing, winning only 59 district council seats versus 115 for the most prominent pro-Beijing party. That result — along with a historically low voter turnout — seemed to suggest that the democrats had become a spent force in Hong Kong politics after cresting in popularity amid mass anti-government protest rallies in 2003.

But the reformers may have arrested their slide into irrelevance with yesterday's victory by Anson Chan, a widely known ex-civil servant who has refashioned herself as a champion of universal suffrage. According to returns reported Monday, Chan won about 55% of the vote in a by-election to replace Ma Lik, a prominent pro-Beijing legislator who died in August.

Chan, who beat another well-known former government official, Regina Ip, framed her victory as a mandate for democratic reform.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 3, 2007 8:58 AM
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