Thousands of Hong Kong university students abandoned classes on Monday to rally against Chinese government limits on voting rights, a bellwether demonstration of the city’s appetite for turning smoldering discontent into street-level opposition, the New York Times reports:
Last month, the Chinese legislature proposed election rule changes for Hong Kong. Starting in 2017, they would allow residents to vote directly for the leader of the city’s government, the chief executive, but a nominating committee dominated by pro-Beijing loyalists would be used to restrict how many and which candidates could enter the contest.
The demonstrations may have only the slightest chance of forcing Beijing to change its mind and allow an open ballot, but student activists said they were ready to fight for many years…..Frustration with Chinese policy in Hong Kong is especially deep among the young, and contention over voting rights has given many otherwise apolitical students a jolt of civic engagement.
Two of the world’s powerful autocracies, both rooted in the idea and practice of communist dictatorship, are bent on encroaching upon freedom and democracy on two different fronts: Ukraine and Hong Kong, former political prisoners Yang Jianli, Teng Biao and Hu Jia write for the Wall Street Journal:
China has the potential to become an even more relentless, aggressive dictatorship than Russia. From their support for rogue regimes in Iran, North Korea, and Syria to their military buildups and aggressive use of cyber warfare and technology theft, Moscow and Beijing are playing for keeps and their corrosive impact should worry the free world.
Only a strong, unambiguous warning from the U.S. will cause either of those countries to carefully consider the costs of new violent acts of repression, they contend (Mr. Yang is the president of Initiatives for China. Mr. Teng is a human rights lawyer. Mr. Hu is a winner of the Sakharov Prize.) RTWT