Dear Subscribers &
The mood at the rally today
was a mixture of lightness, hope and resolve.
The significance of the 1 July 2004 rally is that
Hong Kong has a people's
movement. The people want not only a better economy but also
universal suffrage and for their views to be heard and respected by the
Over the past 12 months, more than a million people
participated in activities that were part of a social-democratic movement. Its time to bury the saying that Hong Kong people are
apolitical. They are in fact actively involved in shaping their own future as
people of the HKSAR.
A. Is there a 'movement'
1. A movement comes into existence without any need
for formal organization or for a clearly defined common strategy.
2. A movement has to involve a very large number of
people from all walks of life. A movement is sustained by an idea that drives
participation. A good signal is when pop stars sing and write songs about the
3. In Hong Kong's case, the numbers are large and
the idea is democracy. At the 1 July 2004 rally, young pop artists were out in
force to belt out pro-democracy songs, some of which were quite catchy.
Democracy has now become "hip".
B. Impressive numbers - 1
1. 1 July
2003: A year ago, 500-700,000 protesters marched to object
to the imminent passage of the controversial Article 23 national security
legislation that people felt would affect their freedoms.
2. 9 July
2003: An estimated 50,000 gathered to protest at LegCo on the day
that the Article 23 was supposed to pass even though it had already been
withdrawn by the government as the Liberal Party withdrew its support for the
3. 13 July
2003: Some 20,000
gathered to rally for democratic reform.
4. 27 November
2003: Voters turned out at the District Council election to vote
out many of the members of those parties that had voiced their support for
the government to push through the Article 23 legislation.
5. 1 January
2004: Over 100,000
people rallied for universal suffrage in 2007-2008.
6. 4 June
2004: More than 80,000 people commemorated 4 June 1989 at a
7. 1 July
2004: Around 300-350,000 people rallied for democracy despite
the fact that Beijing had ruled out universal suffrage in 2007-2008.
C. What do Hong Kong
A Civic Exchange survey released on 26 June showed
Hong Kong people want THREE
economy: For the
government to create the right conditions for economic development;
suffrage: Preferrably sooner rather than later, hence the
continuous calls for 2007-2008; AND
3. To be
heard: By the HKSAR Government and Beijing.
You can see the survey at
www.civic-exchange.org under "publications 2004 June".
What was most interesting was that 21% of the respondents thought Hong Kong
people themselves had to do something to bring about universal suffrage.
Civic Exchange - HK's independent think