Hong Kong’s National Day flag raising undisturbed, but Occupy Central protestors kept away

The Chinese national flag raising ceremony went off without a hitch this morning, but no doubt only because Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protestors were kept far away from the scene.

Chief Executive CY Leung was joined by dozens of dignitaries to raise the Chinese flag at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai in honour of the 65th anniversary of National Day, the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

However, protestors, who have brought Hong Kong’s financial district to a standstill since the weekend, were unable to get any closer than around 400 metres due to the heavy police presence. They therefore made their views felt in the only way they could, booing loudly at 8am as the flag went up.

In his speech, CY Leung started by applauding the “encouraging progress and achievements” Hong Kong has made in the past year, before addressing the elephant in the room… kind of.

Hong Kong’s leader praised the decision of Beijing’s National People’s Congress to allow “one person, one vote” for the 2017 chief executive elections, and vaguely acknowledged the reason why tens of thousands of Hongkongers have taken to the streets as part of Occupy Central over recent days.

“It is understandable that different people may have different ideas about a desirable reform package, but it is definitely better to have universal suffrage than not. It is definitely better to have the CE elected by five million eligible voters than by 1,200 people, and it is definitely better to cast your vote at the polling station than to stay home and watch on television the 1,200 members of the Election Committee cast their votes,“ he said.

He added that the NPC’s decision was a “big step forward” in Hong Kong’s constitutional development, and urged the community to “work with the Government in a peaceful, lawful, rational and pragmatic manner”.

All seems pretty rosy from where he’s standing then, clearly. Happy National Day. Who’s feeling patriotic?

Photo: Wikimedia

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