Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Chan plans democracy group for Hong Kong

AP , HONG KONG

One of Hong Kong's most popular political figures, Anson Chan (陳方安生), said yesterday she's forming a group to propose ways to make the territory fully democratic -- a move that may raise pressure on Beijing to hasten reforms.

Chan was once Hong Kong's No. 2 leader. Her every step is closely watched because she is widely expected to be a candidate to become the territory's leader next year.

She declined to confirm whether she'll enter the race, saying only that she will choose the right time and place to make an announcement.

"I have no personal agenda, nor am I hungry for power," she said.

Chan said she's planning a "core group" of less than 10 people, bringing together different forces to form proposals for constitutional reform because the government is moving toward it too slowly, she said.

She declined to name who would be in the group.

"I want people who are thinkers," she said, adding that they should understand Hong Kong's history, the public's desires and Beijing's concerns.

Chan's group could keep the democracy issue in the spotlight and force Hong Kong's government and Beijing to be more proactive in drafting political reforms.

Chan, 66, said her group aims to dispel fears that a democratically elected government would challenge Beijing's authority and become "a Trojan horse for the extension of universal suffrage on the mainland."

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