Most of the people who joined the massive protest action in Hong Kong on Tuesday said they participated to register their opposition to Beijing’s interpretation of the “one country, two systems” policy, according to a survey conducted by Ming Pao Daily.
More than 70 percent of the respondents said they joined the march because they reject the recent white paper issued by the State Council, China’s cabinet, which stressed that the central government has ultimate authority over the city.
Experts said the release of the white paper has prompted many Hong Kong people to participate in the march.
The survey showed that 82 percent of the respondents also participated to demand universal suffrage amid plans by the central government to vet the candidates to the 2017 chief executive election.
According to the survey, 30 percent of the 410 respondents joined the annual march for the first time on Tuesday, up 7 percentage points from 22.6 percent last year.
Aside from the issues of the white paper and universal suffrage, the survey also showed that almost 50 percent of the protesters were dissatisfied with the performance of Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin or the Hong Kong government.
Government policies were rated at an average of 18.7 points out of a perfect score of 100, lower than last year’s 20.18 points, the survey showed. About 35 percent of the respondents gave the government a score of zero.
Ma Ngok, associate professor and acting head of Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said universal suffrage and democracy are long-running aspirations of the people, while the white paper is considered a threat to the “one country, two systems’ principle enshrined in the Basic Law even before democracy is attained. It is this fear that has pushed more people to join Tuesday’s protest, he said.
In its coverage of the July 1 march, the Hong Kong Economic Times said many people from all walks of life joined the protest for the first time because they felt the situation called for their involvement.
“There might not be a chance to join the protest if we don’t come out this year,” said a woman surnamed Yip who participated in the march with her six-year-old son.
An accountant surnamed Lau said he joined because he was opposed to government plans to develop the northeastern New Territories, adding that it is not a good time to further integrate Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
“The government should listen to the people’s views, and not just informing us of their plans,” said a woman surnamed Cheung, who went to the protest with her husband and children. She brought along her kids to teach them to fight for democracy even at an early age, the report said.
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