Hong Kong MPs have thrown out a bill proposed by China that would tighten its control over how the country’s leader, known as the chief executive, is elected. Only eight of the 70 MPs voted for the change.
The original move to alter the already undemocratic elections, decided by a 1,200-member committee loyal to the government in Beijing, to one where candidates had to be selected from a Chinese approved list, triggered one of the biggest mass movements in the former British colony’s history.
The so-called Umbrella Movement mobilised tens of thousands of people in huge street occupations. Despite attacks by police and pro-Beijing thugs, the movement remained in the streets demanding the new law be dumped and new democratic elections be held.
The collapse of the bill means that the old, and equally undemocratic, method will remain in place. But it does represent a serious setback for the current head of state.
As news of the parliamentary defeat became known, the occupation movement dismantled its last protest camp.
Despite failing to win democratic reforms, the movement has set a precedent for mass mobilisations and popular discontent.