Saturday, July 02, 2005

ASA Joint July 1st March in Hong Kong

UPDATE: HONG KONG, 21,000 protesters marched on the streets of Hong Kong today in an annual march calling for democratic reforms in the Chinese territory, but the numbers were far below the half a million that took to the streets in the two previous years.

Many believe the democracy movement lost some steam last year after Beijing snuffed out hopes that Hong Kong people would soon be allowed to directly elect their leader and entire legislature. Others thought that fewer turned out because popular new leader Donald Tsang has taken over from Tung Chee-Wah and people want to give him a chance.

July 1 also marked the 8th anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to Chinese rule in 1997. At the same time, the protesters streamed into Victoria Park to “vote” in a mock referendum on whether Hong Kong should have full democracy – also denied voters when Hong Kong was a British colony. The Hong Kong Civil Human Rights Front said 8,400 cast ballots, which would be tailed after the rally.

The Involvement of HKPA

Even the main slogans of the rally were “Fight for Universal Suffrage” and “Against Collusion Between Government and Big Business”, there were different slogans chanted by the different groups. The Hong Kong People’s Alliance on WTO (HKPA) mobilized the members within the networks to join the rally.

Elizabeth Tang, one of the conveners of the HKPA stated that one of the July 1st slogans and themes, collusion between the government and business, is appropriate and easily linked to the WTO’s presence and influence to the territory’s internal affairs.

The HKPA unfurled a 4m x 4m mat with a black hand aiming to grab the world. The black hand, in Chinese culture, depicts anyone or anything that is capable of manipulating events and making bad things happen. The WTO, according to HKPA, is like the black hand with all its schemes and agreements that negatively impact on the world’s peoples.

On it are yellow footsteps depicting the HK people’s response to the WTO. Yellow is the color being used by grassroots people and organizations in the territory.


Likewise, a life-sized black hand with a red no entry sign stamped on it floated in the air as one of the HKPA’s gimmicks. In the demonstration, around 50 people marched under the HKPA banner wearing a black glove and a red no entry sign placed on the glove’s palm area.

There were thousands of leaflets about the HKPA were distributed to the protesters. It was the important outreach activities for the HKPA to let more Hong Kong local people to understand about the impacts of the WTO and the information about the coming WTO Ministerial Conference.

The HKPA vowed that through various actions and publicity events, they will present the real image of WTO as prime promoter of corporate globalization and the reasons why people all over the world resist it.