Hong Kong: July first rally: the Anson Chan effect?

July first in China is many things. It is the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party in China, the day in 1997 when Hong Kong was handed over to China and is also the date of one of the largest mobilizations in Hong Kong each year.

This year the number of demonstrators has doubled compared to last year; the mainstream media explained that it was the effect of Anson Chan stepping out to challenge the SAR government, particularly the reigning Chief Executive Officer Donald Tsang. However, bloggers have their own explanation on why they joined the demonstration or not.

July first demonstration, 2006 --Lam Fai photo

Compared with two to three years ago when 500,000 people would come out for the July first protest, lower numbers over the last two years could be explained by shifting attitudes towards the issues and, as Hong Kong blogger Tungpo explains, the protest organizers themselves.


I did not go last year, this year certainly won't go. Because I don't know what I'd be doing there. I feel that the Civil Human Rights Front is more and more unrealistic and they had lost the political opportunities.

Conflicting with the theory that this year's increased turnout over 2005 could be explained by the attendance of certain high-profile politicians, Civic Express member and blogger Charles Mok says otherwise.

July first demonstration, 2006 --Charles Mok photo


This year I joined the demonstration, but not because of Anson Chan. Last year the constitutional development report No 5 had been rejected by the Legislative Council, this year the economic condition is much better, the government wants to shift the attention and slow down the demoncratic development, therefore, it is neccessary to go out. However, I am disappointed once again.

July first demonstration, 2006 --Charles Mok photo

Lamfai feels that people should not focus on the number of protestors and the role of organizer too much as the democratic movement in Hong Kong has to transform into a more mature stage.


the July first rally in 2003 was an encounter of citizen and society, it was striking event and a most touching love song; however, after the most passionate period, we have to learn how to sustain the loving relation and transform the passion to everlasting love. In the post-July first period, in the civil society, a number of new media, pressure groups and political parties emerged. They have enriched the public sphere and widened the local political spectrum. However, the most difficult issue is to change people's attitude towards organizations. The July first rally is one of the steps towards democratic movement and civil society, and not the only step.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site