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MAC: China should address Hong Kong people's call for suffrage
Central News Agency
2014-07-01 10:28 PM
Taipei, July 1 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Tuesday that China and Hong Kong should face calls for universal suffrage by the Hong Kong people squarely following a massive protest march which took place that day. The MAC said the Hong Kong people took to the streets to underscore their appeal for universal suffrage and defend their right to self-rule. It urged "the Chinese and Hong Kong governments to address the will of the Hong Kong people, tolerate differences and respond to related appeals in a rational manner." Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, and her predecessor Su Tseng-chang, lent support to the people of Hong Kong on their Facebook pages. "Today, let us cheer for our Hong Kong friends who took to the streets to fight for universal suffrage and freedom," Su wrote. Tsai, meanwhile, wrote that "democracy is our shared pursuit. We are with you in rain or wind. Cheer for Hong Kong." The march started at 3:20 p.m. at Victoria Park, with people from Taiwan, Macau and mainland China also participating. Due to the large number of participants -- at least 150,000, according to the organizers -- a lot of them were still waiting in the park one hour after the first group began the march. Taiwanese groups -- Taiwan March, which is comprised of student protesters from the Sunflower Movement that occupied the Legislature in March, as well as Taiwan Labor Front -- were among the marchers. The organizers also aired videos of remarks by Lin Fei-fan and Chen Wei-ting, the two main student leaders of the Sunflower Movement, during the protest. The protest march came after an informal poll on democratic reform drew an unexpectedly high turnout of nearly 800,000 votes, but was banded "illegal and invalid" by the Chinese authorities. Beijing has promised to let all Hong Kong residents vote for their next leader in 2017. Currently, a 1,200-strong pro-Beijing committee chooses the city's chief executive. But China says those wishing to seek election will have to be approved by a nomination committee, which Hong Kong people fear will mean that only pro-Beijing candidates will be allowed to stand. (By Chou Yi-ling, Stanley Cheung, Justine Su and Lilian Wu)
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