Hong Kong crusades for democracy
The protest was the first in a long time for Hong Kong residents to focus purely on issues of democracy, rather than other political concerns. Quite a feat for a quarter of a million people, I'd say. The march was largely a protest of Beijing-style rule, represented by Donald Tsang; Tsang was re-elected as Chief Executive of Hong Kong for a second term on Sunday. He has played a part in the region's government since before the British handover in 1997.
An unexpected turnout of as many as 250,000 marchers here Sunday is a clear repudiation of pro-Beijing policies that would stall if not kill democratic aspirations in Hong Kong. It also speaks to the vibrancy of a grass-roots democratic awakening that had been slumbering in China's most developed commercial city. Had Sunday's turnout been low, it could have sunk the democracy movement.
The protest, which filled Hong Kong's downtown on this breezy afternoon, was sparked by a proposal that would indefinitely delay a much-desired introduction of a "one man, one vote" system. It was also fed by statements from Hong Kong tycoons that the city wasn't mature enough to govern itself.