Hong Kong Celebrates Handover Anniversary
Created: 2013-07-01 11:19 EST
Hong Kong marked the 16th anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule on Monday (July 1).
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying shook hands with supporters while attending an official flag raising ceremony early in the morning.
Leung's popularity dropped to its lowest since he took the job one year ago at 46.2 points out of a scale of 100, a survey done by the University of Hong Kong in June showed.
During an official cocktail reception, Leung said implementing universal suffrage in the 2017 Hong Kong leader election is a key area of focus for his current government.
[Leung Chun-Ying, Chief Executive]:
"Working to implement universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election is key to the current government. The government will begin consultation with the greatest sincerity and sense of responsibility at a suitable time. The government hopes our friends with different stances can adopt a tolerant, pragmatic and peaceful attitude, seek common ground while retaining our differences, and strive for the biggest consensus."
A group of about 20 protesters, held back by police from reaching the ceremony site. They were demanding universal suffrage, democracy in China and for Hong Kong's unpopular leader to step down.
[Leung Kwok-Hung, Legislator and Protest Organiser]:
"We come here to watch out the demands of the Hong Kong people. Universal suffrage now. And also urge the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, CY Leung, to step down."
A larger protest march is planned for later on Monday with organisers expecting 400,000 people to march through Hong Kong to protest against the city's pro-Beijing leader, the slow pace of political reforms, the widening income gap and soaring property price among the top grievances.