Around 30-thousand Hong Kong residents spent the first day of the 2010 new year by marching in the street, demanding democracy and the release of Liu Xiaobo. To show their support for this rally, twitterers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China together pushed the hashtag #0101hk to the top ten trendy topics in Twitter.
The new year rally was organized by the pan-democratic alliance to call for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. There are other demands, such as the release of mainland activist Liu Xiaobo, who advocated constitutional reform in China with the 08 Charter signature campaign and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment on a subversion charge in Christmas day 2009.
The Hong Kong government released its electoral reform consultation in November 2009. The document does not set a path and concrete time table for the universal suffrage of Legislative Council and Chief Executive in Hong Kong. Instead, it proposes the expansion of functional constituencies from 30 to 40 seats. The so-called functional constituencies are arbitrary professional and business sectors, which are composed of either individual or corporate / organization vote. The pan-democratic alliance believes that its expansion is a setback in democracy development. Two major political parties, the Civic Party (CP) and League of Social Democrats (LSD) decided to launch a symbolic referendum on universal suffrage by en masse resignation in five major districts from the legislation council. Although the Democratic Party refused to participate in the resignation campaign, they joined the rally to show their solidarity.
Netizens also help mobilize the rally. Before the demonstration, twitterers had agreed on the hashtag of #0101hk for reporting on the event and set up a tweet-wall for instant mobile report. Twitterers participated in the live report included @bachlau, @pingyanw, @tsuishui, @edwincheese, @sidekickick, @martinoei, @kursk, @stellakwok, @chonghead, @bencrox, @CHANVINCI, @kandhercat and many others. Their tweets were retweeted by mainland counterparts and the hashtag #0101hk entered top 10 of the twitter trending topic. Below is a selection of the micro reports according to the timeline:
14:00 pingyanw: 大遊行將於下午三時開始，現在已經有上千人到場。還我真普選，釋放劉曉波
15:00 BachLau 現場口號：二零一二雙普選！廢除功能組別！不要假民主！釋放劉曉波！港人一條心！
16:00 sidekick 一路上，我們都常在路口停下。大路上車根本不多，所以我們在喊：警察放行。
16:00 sidekick民間電台的貼紙。不要當奴 #0101hk http://moby.to/tgljmt
17:00 sidekick: 大會說，遊行的隊尾仍在中環。(即是出發的地方)
17:30 edwincheese 皇后大道西有大批警察築起人牆 http://yfrog.com/4aeq2pj
18:00 edwincheese 遊行隊伍被警察隔至中聯辦一條大馬路的對面 http://yfrog.com/3lr5gkj
18:00 chonghead 警察挡住一支法西斯旗，在中联办不远处。 – http://moby.to/kb8jzc
18:30 martinoei 警方阻止社民連手持棺材前進 #0101hk http://twitpic.com/w74qg
1８:３0 BachLau : 緊急！示威者衝破干諾道西鐵馬防線，非常混亂，各位注意安全 http://twitpic.com/w772c http://twitpic.com/w772e http://twitpic.com/w772b
1８:30 martinoei: 社民連示威者佔據德輔道西，德輔道西東西行交通中斷 #0101hk http://twitpic.com/w793i
18:45 chonghead 所有人在大喊：释放刘晓波！
19:00 chonghead 黄毓民要求，把一台棺材送到中联办门口，然后和平散去。警察未有回复。
20:00 CHANVINCI 棺材已達中聯辦，人民和平散去 #0101hk http://twitpic.com/w7atn
Hong Kong police as political tool
Many bloggers complained about the barricades that block the protesters from approaching the Central government liaison office. Fongyun in his blogpost, Journey to west, asked:
Jeff Au Yeung spent his birthday with this rally and he is also very angry about the police arrangement:
Ip Iam Chong, a contributing reporter from inmediahk.net, had a more detailed description of the scene outside the Liaison office:
With some curiosity, I went to the front door of the Central Government Liaison Office, which was located at the Connaught Road. The whole area was protected by layers of barricades and a large number of police were standing by and waiting for order. Pedestrians were stopped by police when they were about 20 meters from the building. There I found out that a woman protester Lui Yuk-ling had been staying outside the Liaison office alone since late evening last night.
I walked back to Des Voeux Road West along the pedestrian on the side of the back door of the Liaison office and then I saw a number of protesters holding a fascist banner stopped by the police at about 40 meters from the Liaison Office. Some protesters have successfully reached the back door of the Liaison office. Most of them were members of LSD, such as Tsang Kin-sheng.