Date
16 October 2018
Demosistō Secretary-General Joshua Wong stands among a crowd during the July 1 march. The young political party raised over HK$530,000 in donations at stalls put up during the event this year. Photo: Reuters
Demosistō Secretary-General Joshua Wong stands among a crowd during the July 1 march. The young political party raised over HK$530,000 in donations at stalls put up during the event this year. Photo: Reuters

Demosisto tops fundraising at July 1 march

Demosisto, the political party associated with student activist Joshua Wong, has raised the most money among pro-democracy groups during Hong Kong’s July 1 march this year.

The young party raised over HK$530,000 in donations at stalls put up during Sunday’s event, despite fewer citizens participating in the rally this year compared to 2017.

According to the event organizer, Civil Human Right Front (CHRF), about 50,000 people joined the rally this year, marking a decline of 10,000 from the number last year.

The Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong put the turnout estimate in the range of 26,000 to 33,000, which is more or less the same compared to the numbers in the last three years.

The police, however, estimated the crowd at only 9,800 at its peak, the lowest since 2003.

Demosisto said it will use the funds raised on July 1, when Hong Kong marked the 21st anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, for a research project and to link up with international society, among other things.

The Justice Defence Fund, meanwhile, raised HK$500,000, adding to its HK$6.4 million coffers.

The fund will pay HK$2 million to HK$3 million for the legal cost of the government in the oath-taking cases pertaining to some pro-democracy lawmakers, said Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, one of the trustees of the fund. 

There will also be around HK$300,000 for legal fees for Lau Siu-lai who abandoned the appeal against her case, while the rest will go to the nine defendants in the Occupy movement case, Cheng added.

Lau Siu-lai, who is preparing for the Kowloon West by-election, raised HK$276,000 for herself, HK$86,000 more than last year.

She feels the government’s persecution and the “effect of the by-election” contributed to the rise in donations to her.

Overall, however, most of the pro-democratic organizations received less donations than last year.

Ahead of the march, there had been a dispute in June between the CHRF and police with regard to the starting spot of the protest.

Sammy Ip Chi-hin, convenor of CHRF, said thousands of protesters started at the central lawn of the Victoria Park on Sunday and more participants, including Ip himself, joined along.

Police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung warned the protesters that they could be deemed guilty of illegal assembly if they joined the rally along the route.

The government said in a rare response to the rally that “chanting slogans which disrespect ‘one country’ and disregarding the constitutional order” is not in line with Hong Kong’s overall interests and that such activities would undermine the territory’s development.

“Under the arrangement of ‘one country, two systems’, we have to firmly uphold the ‘one country’ principle, have a correct understanding of the constitutional order as set out by the Constitution and the Basic Law, and safeguard the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests.

“At the same time, we should also make the best use of the ‘two systems’ and ride on our unique advantages to develop our economy and improve people’s livelihood,” a government spokesman said.

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KN/JC/RC

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