RealNews

Asian democracy blooms as China watches

When China’s leaders peer beyond their borders, they see a similar phenomenon in almost every direction, something they aren’t particularly enthused about: people voting. From the peaceful elections across the Indonesian archi- pelago this week, to millions of voters in India and the Philippines in May, to national ballots in Malaysia and Taiwan, China appears literally surrounded by the exercise of democracy rights in Asia. Now there’s Hong Kong, again. Since 450,000 residents flooded streets here for the second year in a row to ask for more democracy and direct elections, China has issued four statements of “no.” Democrats here say the July 1 march is clear cause for Beijing to reconsider its controversial rule not to allow direct elections in 2007. But envoy Li Gang was unequivocal: “The decision [in Beijing] is final. It is unwise to try to achieve what is unachievable.”Full Story

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