A crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Hong Kong on Tuesday to call for democratic reforms. From the New York Times:
The march came days after nearly 800,000 residents participated in an informal vote on making the selection of the city’s top official more democratic, a vote that Beijing dismissed as illegal. Tuesday’s demonstration also follows the release three weeks ago by China’s cabinet of a so-called white paper that asserted broad central government authority over Hong Kong, angering many residents.
Inequality and unemployment are driving discontent among young Hong Kong residents, the paper writes, as are signs that the mainland Chinese government is looking to take stronger control of the city (which has had considerable autonomy since being handed over from British rule in 1997). More specifically, the 2017 selection of the city's chief executive is an issue:
Beijing has said that it “may” allow universal suffrage, the principle of one vote for each adult, in the next election for chief executive in 2017. But Beijing has made it clear that it wants to be able to vet those who appear on the ballot...
A 1,200-member elections committee dominated by Beijing loyalists currently chooses the chief executive, who is then appointed to a five-year term by Beijing.
And here's a great additional detail from the Times piece about the apparent generational divide in Hong Kong over the question of how much political agitation is appropriate:
The local offices of the so-called Big Four accounting firms — Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers — took out a paid ad on Friday in local newspapers warning that the Occupy Central protest could disrupt the city’s financial sector. Each of the four declined to comment on Monday.
Another ad appeared on Monday in the newspaper Apple Daily, which is published by Next Media. The ad was signed by “a group of Big 4 staff who love Hong Kong” and said that “the bosses’ statement” did not represent their views.
An accountant versus accountant dispute over democratic activism conducted via rival newspaper ads: The world is full of surprises.