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China’s Hard Line on Hong Kong Democracy Faces Election Test

  • Legislative Council poll Sunday is first since Occupy protests
  • Result to shape city’s response to growing political divide
Police fire tear gas at demonstrators during a protest near central government offices in Hong Kong, on Sept. 28, 2014.

Police fire tear gas at demonstrators during a protest near central government offices in Hong Kong, on Sept. 28, 2014.

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg
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Since thousands of Hong Kong students blocked city streets two years ago to protest a restrictive plan for promised elections, the government’s response to democratic demands hasn’t wavered: Put aside the political fights, enjoy being part of China, prosper together.

That take-or-leave-it approach to managing Hong Kong will be put to the test Sunday, with almost 4 million voters eligible to choose 70 members of the former British colony’s Legislative Council. The once-in-four-year election has drawn almost 300 candidates as a new crop of more radical activists seek a platform to challenge Beijing and others urge a more accommodating approach to bridge widening political divides.