Call me a gullible wearer of rose-tinted glasses; I see Hong Kong as the city of the free. Freer than most cities. Certainly, for the moment at least, it is freer than any other city in China.

Hong Kong is on the threshold of a historical turning point. But this turning point could, in a heartbeat, turn into a breaking point.

Today is the start of a pop vote for a civil referendum, organised by the Occupy Central movement and the Alliance for True Democracy, on the controversial subject of civic nomination for the election of Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017.

Like being in the eye of a storm, we wait with bated breath for the government to reveal the outcome of its deliberations on the proposals submitted during the first round of consultations on electoral reform.

Our legislators have never had it so good. First, they were invited to breakfast by the chief secretary. Now, they are invited to Shanghai.

Last week the government floated the idea of building flats in country parks. The proposed fundamental shift in Hong Kong's conservation policy is at once peremptory and presumptuous.