Yesterday, Beijing handed down a proposal for reforming Hong Kong’s election process that pro-democracy activists say falls woefully short what was originally promised to the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Beijing’s proposal requires that candidates have approval from half of a nominating committee before going on to be voted for by the general public, a process that will help China pre-screen Hong Kong’s leaders—a far cry from the “universal suffrage” that is the stated goal in Hong Kong’s basic law.

Beijing’s decision shows how the chances for political liberalization in China have faded in recent decades. Some believed that Hong Kong, which has enjoyed more political freedoms than the mainland since its handover from Britain in 1997, would be an incubator for political reforms and elections that could be later tried on the mainland. Observers within and outside of China believed China’s rising middle-class, the internet, or general economic growth would force political change and eventually democratization. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog