Beijing’s shadow looms over would-be democratic reformers in Hong Kong – Tom Mitchell

From the Financial Times (link):

Every Friday, representatives of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp gather for a midday strategy session in room 201 of the colonial-era Legislative Council building.

Through the conference room’s narrow windows, the 10 or so legislators who usually attend each meeting can gaze up at two towering symbols of the forces arrayed against them: the iconic Bank of China tower, Hong Kong headquarters of one of China’s largest state banks, and the Cheung Kong Centre built by Li Ka-shing, the richest member of the territory’s pro-Beijing business community.

“The room is probably full of bugs,” jokes Emily Lau, an independent pro-democracy legislator.

This week for the first time a new political party, the Civic party, will be represented at the conclave. Launched formally at the weekend, the Civic party controls six seats – or a 10 per cent voting bloc – in the Legislative Council, compared with the more established Democratic party’s nine. But unlike the Democratic party, the Civic party’s platform does not mention the June 4 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, potentially making it a more palatable interlocutor for Beijing in future.

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