People Power wins funds battle
Pan-democrats and the July 1 rally organiser were big winners in fund-raising efforts during the largest handover-anniversary march in years, offering an early glimpse of public sentiment ahead of Legislative Council elections.
Political groups collected at least HK$2 million in total during Sunday's rally - almost double last year's HK$1.2 million - initial tallies show.
People Power, a radical pro-democracy group led by lawmakers Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip, received the most, with HK$800,000 - up from HK$400,000 last year.
Observers say the figures 'more or less' reflect the support each party will get in the vote in September.
Professor James Sung Lap-kung, a political scientist from City University, said People Power's fund-raising success could be due to its marked opposition to new chief executive Leung Chun-ying, who was 'the major reason why so many people took to the streets on July 1'.
'Those who went to the rally may have found that the party's slogans and radical actions fit with their anger towards Leung and his government,' Sung said.
Aside from donation boxes, People Power sold popular souvenirs such as a book of political parodies by cartoonist Cuson Lo.
Sung said there were other factors that would affect the group's electoral popularity. 'This includes whether their support is sustainable, what other actions they launch against Leung, and how Leung behaves in the coming months.'
The Civil Human Rights Front, which organises the annual rallies, raised HK$370,000, up from HK$223,000 last year. Crowd estimates ranged from 63,000 to 400,000.
The Civic Party, from the pan-democratic camp, collected HK$330,000 this year, versus about HK$200,000 in 2011. Sung said this showed that anger at the party over members' roles in two controversial judicial reviews had abated.
Civic Party heavyweights Alan Leong Ka-kit, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Ronnie Tong Ka-wah made speeches and shook hands with people in the crowd.
The Democratic Party raised HK$220,000 this year after a record-low HK$80,000 last year. The new Labour Party received HK$190,000, the NeoDemocrats got HK$60,000 and the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood HK$37,000.
Gary Fan Kwok-wai, a member of the front, said its fund-raising activities were contingent on the number of volunteers it had and how good the march turnout was. 'It could also reflect how hot the political topic of the march is that year,' he said.