The Pursuit of Democracy in Hong Kong

In the wake of the pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, this article briefly outlines key developments since 1984 in the pursuit for democracy in Hong Kong.
1984: Signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Government of the People's Republic of China. This agreement guaranteed Hong Kong autonomy "except in foreign and defence affairs" for fifty years following the handover of sovereignty in 1997.

2004: The Government of the People's Republic of China rules that its approval must be sought for changes to Hong Kong's election laws.

2008: The Government of the People's Republic of China outlines the possibility of allowing direct elections by 2017.

2014: In June and July, pro-democracy activists hold an unofficial referendum on political reform and a large rally is held. In the wake of this rally, this followed in protests by pro-Beijing activists. Chief Executive Chun-Ying Leung hailed the ruling as a "major step forward in the development of Hong Kong's society". Leung however has been heavily criticised for this announcement and for misrepresenting public opinion in the process.

31st August 2014: Following on from the Chinese Government's 2008 framework to allow direct elections in Hong Kong in 2017, the Chinese Government adds an additional clause. China states that direct elections will be held in 2017, however Hong Kong voters will only be able to choose from a list of pre-selected candidates drawn up by the Chinese Government. As a result of this, activists stage protests.

22nd September 2014: Student groups launch a week-long boycott of classes in protest. The protests have taken place at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with 13,000 students taking part on the first day, alongside the Hong Kong Government complex.

2047: Current arrangements set out in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration expire.

Next Steps?

The current protest is being driven by protesters who want the Chinese Government to scrap the rules that permit the Chinese Government to select candidates for the Executive election in 2017 and allow universal suffrage. The Hong Kong Government must still discuss the Chinese Government's election ruling and formulate a bill to be passed by Hong Kong's legislature.

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