Pro-Chinese members of Hong Kong’s legislature attempted to foil a revolt by pro-democracy members by walking out of the electoral reform debate before the vote, seemingly in the hope the proceedings would be halted.
But the vote went ahead, and the reforms, which would have given Hong Kong’s five million people the chance to directly elect their leader, but from a Beijing-approved list of three, were rejected.
“I am pained and disappointed that the political reform plan has been vetoed. I cannot predict when Hong Kong’s democratic development can resume,” said the Legislative Council’s Chief Secretary Carrie Lam.
Pro-democracy activists celebrated their famous victory in the chamber. Their opposition to the Beijing-proposed reforms has already seen mass street protests. Beijing refused to accept a single amendment to the package.
“Hong Kong people would not want to take on this fake democratic package. We do not want our votes to be used to legitimise a pre-vetting system,” said the co-founder of the Civic party Alan Leong.
At least one analyst says it appears Beijing’s no-compromise stance may have united civic society against the government, and it was unlikely Beijing would want to offer any concessions to restart the reform process.