Jostling and clamoring outside a campaign rally for current Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權), pro-democracy activists said they were inspired by Taiwan's democracy and believed the way to obtain universal suffrage in Hong Kong is to boycott those in power.
On Friday evening, Emily Lau (劉慧卿), Chairwoman of Frontier, a radical pro-democracy party, led her supporters and party members in a protest outside Tsang's campaign rally, which was being held at Wan Chai Baseball Stadium.
Carrying a red coffin to symbolize how Tsang won promotion to the territory's top job, pro-democracy members marched around the stadium shouting slogans such as "stop closed-circle elections" and "universal suffrage in 2012." In Chinese, the pronunciation of "government post" is similar to "coffin."
Some protesters even tried to get into the rally in order to protest against the Chief Executive Election, calling it a "sham election." After some small altercations with the police, however, the protesters were quickly pushed back.
"The Chief Executive Election is nothing but a sham election because only 800 people are able to vote," Lau said through a megaphone. "It is not a democratic election at all. We don't want this kind of election."
"What we want is one person, one vote. But Tsang criticized us, saying that is a dream that can only be found in paradise. According to his logic, the people of Taiwan are all in the paradise," she said. "Hong Kong cannot compare with Taiwan in this regard."
Lau said that she would not vote today even though she is one of the 800 agents who have a right to vote on the Election Committee.
Despite the protesters, Tsang supporters continued to enter the rally, ignoring the opposition. A young mother, taking her two daughters who are elementary school pupils to Tsang's rally, told the Taipei Times that she came because she thought it was a good opportunity for her girls to learn more about democracy.
"I think this event is quite educational for kids. Although we cannot vote in this election, sooner or later, Hong Kong people will have the right to elect their leader directly," the young mother said.
Tsang's rival is pro-democracy legislator Alan Leong (
"I think Tsang is much more familiar with the operations of government than Leong. He has the experience of being a civil servant for over 40 years. I think he is reliable," said a 21-year-old college student, who was visiting the rally with two friends.
"Leong represents another voice of Hong Kong society. But about 15 percent of college students polled two weeks ago did not know who Leong was," the young man said.
About 2,000 supporters and some Hong Kong pop stars, including Leon Lai (
Leon Ng (
"I would say that if Taiwan's democracy has reached a college degree, then this rally has just about reached kindergarten," Ng said.
Ng, who has been to Taiwan to observe elections several times, said that Hong Kongers have no idea about how to show their passion and fervor for the candidate they support.
"What impressed me most was the passion and autonomy of Taiwanese voters when I joined in campaign rallies in Taipei," Ng said. "Although Taiwan holds elections nearly every year, I think it takes a step forward with each poll. I think Hong Kong could also have that one day."
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