[IWAR] HONG KONG 'democracy'

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Mon Dec 08 1997 - 09:54:38 PST

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                       China gets delegates it wants in Hong Kong
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 Reuters
       HONG KONG (December 8, 1997 08:53 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -
       Pro-Beijing tycoons and politicians on Monday picked 36 delegates to
       represent Hong Kong in China's rubber-stamp parliament after a contest
       denounced by pro-democracy forces as a sham.
       A committee of 424 pro-Beijing stalwarts appointed by China chose the
       delegates to Beijing's National People's Congress from a list of 54. The
       winners join a newly formed Congress in Beijing early next year.
       Hong Kong has sent delegates to the Congress in the past, but it was the
       first time representatives had been chosen by a selection committee
       process, rather than directly appointed by Beijing.
       Beijing's diplomatic envoy, Jiang Enzhu, the head of the watchdog Xinhua
       News agency branch in Hong Kong, came out on top.
       Jiang won the first round Saturday and had been widely expected to win a
       seat, and possibly to lead the Hong Kong NPC bloc. His aide, Lee
       Wai-ting, was also one of the biggest vote-getters in Monday's contest.
       Other winners included 14 local NPC incumbents and the president of Hong
       Kong's Provisional Legislature, Rita Fan.
       China resumed sovereignty over the British colony of 156 years July 1,
       promising to preserve its autonomy and distinct political system under a
       "one country, two systems" setup.
       But Jiang's participation has sparked allegations China is already
       encroaching on the territory's freedom.
       Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa hailed the process as "open and fair." He
       told reporters after the selection that the deputies chosen were
       repesentative of Hong Kong society.
       "This election has been conducted in a very fair, open manner ... and I
       think the results are very good. And these 36 persons will represent
       Hong Kong very well," he said.
       An opinion poll showed Monday that the popularity of Tung and confidence
       in the economy had ebbed amid Asia's financial turmoil.
       Public approval of the unelected Provisional Legislature, which China
       appointed to replace the elected Legislative Council had also slumped,
       the poll showed.
       The pro-democracy camp has blasted the NPC selection process as a
       "closed-circle" election and a sham.

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