By Kevin Drew, March 25, 2012 —
HONG KONG — Outside the election center, the airborne plastic discs, a symbol of protest here, had returned to earth, and the air had cleared from the fumes of pepper spray. But the message from both activists on the streets and political party leaders at news conferences was clear: Hopes that the election Sunday of the next local leader would provide some respite here from an already contentious political year in this southern Chinese city may have been premature.
Leung Chun-ying won a decisive victory Sunday to become the next chief executive of Hong Kong, securing 689 of the 1,193 possible votes from the election committee. But on the streets outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, where the election took place, demonstrators voiced dismay at the voting process, worries about Mr. Leung’s allegiances and concern that freedom of speech and a free media would face increasing scrutiny in the coming years. . . .
Demonstrators on Sunday expressed concerns over whether Mr. Leung remained committed to the “one country, two systems” that Beijing granted Hong Kong on its return to Chinese rule in 1997. Mr. Lo, echoing a refrain heard among many protesting on the streets, said he doubted China would ever allow universal suffrage for the city.
“Beijing first promised us one person, one vote in 2007, then in 2012,” he said. “Now they say we may have it in 2017. I don’t think they’ll ever allow democracy here.”