Hong Kong, now part of China but with its own political arrangements, is in the process of reforming its electoral system. Today, between 80 and 100 thousand demonstrators took to its streets in favor of universal suffrage, such as is now enjoyed in Iraq. The South China Morning Post (available only via paid subscription) says:
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam—kuen last night indicated that limited changes may be possible to the government's reform package after more than 80,000 people took to the streets calling for universal suffrage.
Mr Tsang pledged to "perfect" the electoral reform package but stressed that the scope for change was very limited.
He also ruled out any introduction of a timetable for universal suffrage at this stage.
Mr Tsang said he shared the marchers' desire for universal suffrage and expected to see it during his lifetime.
"I am 60 years of age now. But definitely I will be able to witness the birth of universal suffrage," he said at a media briefing at Government House as angry protesters demanded to meet him face to face at nearby Central Government Offices.
Pro—democracy lawmakers last night dismissed Mr Tsang's response to the march as "rubbish" and vowed to veto the reform package if it is tabled unchanged for a vote on December 21.
Some warned of more mass protests if demands for a timetable on universal suffrage were not met.
In an unusual move, China's Xinhua News Agency gave some coverage to the event, though its dispatch only referred to discontent with electoral reform and stated that demonstrators did not agree on their aspirations.
Hat tip: Brian Schwarz 12 04 05