Occupy Central

CY Leung bombarded with calls to heed demands of July 1 marchers

Chief executive faces mounting pressure from pro-government camp to do something about social problems and reform after protest march

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 July, 2013, 7:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 7:38am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is facing growing calls from the pro-government camp to listen to the demands of the July 1 marchers.

Beijing-loyalist lawmakers have asked Leung to strengthen efforts to address social issues, while others backed pan-democratic calls for a consultation on political reform. They included executive councillors Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, Starry Lee Wai-king and Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.

But it was also pro-government lawmakers who voted down a non-binding motion tabled by the Democratic Party's Sin Chung-kai, calling for the administration to face dissatisfaction with Leung's government.

That came after pan-democrats voted down financial services sector lawmaker Christopher Cheung Wah-fung's amendment asking for Leung to consider public expectations for maintaining the city's prosperity and improving living standards.

The calls came two days after the annual July 1 march, which had a strong turnout despite heavy downpours and the typhoon signal No 3 being raised.

Organiser the Civil Human Rights Front said 430,000 marched, while estimates from the University of Hong Kong put it at about 100,000. The police, however, said 63,000 participated at the peak of the rally. The Front collected HK$520,000 in donations - the highest tally since 2004. After deducting the costs of the march, the rest will be donated to Occupy Central.

In the Legislative Council yesterday, Lam said the businesspeople he represented were unlikely to take to the streets, but "the administration must listen to the [protesters] carefully, and proactively seek solutions".

Cheung, representing the financial services sector, said: "There is no reason for Leung to feel satisfied. Rather, there is a need for a big step forward, especially towards sustainable economic development and better living standards."

Ip, of the New People's Party, backed Cheung's call to improve living standards, while Lee said "fundamental solutions" to the city's problems should be sought.

Independent lawmaker Lam Tai-fai, who supported Leung's arch-rival Henry Tang Ying-yen in the race for the top job, said it was baffling for Leung to suggest he was not dissatisfied with his achievements. "Leung must understand why his popularity is so low. He must be aware of the inadequacies and problems."

Labour and welfare minister Matthew Cheung Kin-chung admitted there was room for improvement but noted initiatives had been launched to improve care for the poor and elderly.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen reiterated that electing the next chief executive by universal suffrage was a common goal of Hongkongers, Beijing and the local government.

Meanwhile, Occupy Central organiser Benny Tai Yiu-ting said an editorial in the state-run Global Times could signal a shift in attitude in Beijing. "Instead of suggesting the dissenting voices were enemies, it was saying that some Hongkongers were acting in a 'spoiled manner'," Tai said.

Five people - including Wong Yan-cheung of the New Territories Association of Societies - yesterday reported Tai and two other leaders of the movement to police, saying they were aiding and abetting the public to break the law. Tai said they had not broken any laws. Police are investigating.