More than 90 percent of people who took part in an poll organized by a pro-democracy group said China shouldn’t vet candidates for Hong Kong’s next leader.
About 62,000 people took part yesterday in the poll commissioned by Occupy Central and published by the University of Hong Kong. They rejected any “pre-screening mechanism” for candidates to replace Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in 2017.
The results reflect anxiety among opposition groups that China’s ruling Communist Party will exert increased control over the chief-executive selection process as it undergoes changes by 2017. China said the city’s leader should be chosen via elections, though officials have said candidates should be vetted and the post should be filled by “a patriot.”
Opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, a British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, are calling for full-fledged democracy, and have threatened demonstrations unless political reforms speed up. More than 10,000 people took part in a protest yesterday demanding to choose their next leader, according to estimates from the university.
Leung took over as the city’s leader in July 2012. He was elected by a committee made up of billionaires, lawmakers and business leaders.
More than 88 percent of people participating in the poll said the nominating committee should be more representative and 94.1 percent said the public should be involved in the nominations, according to the poll results.
Hong Kong started a five-month consultation in December to gather public opinion on the reform process. It’s focused on nomination procedures for the elections, including the composition of a committee that will pick the candidates, according to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam.
Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said in November that candidates for Hong Kong’s leader must be vetted by a committee and the position must be “filled by a patriot.”
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