Jan. 1 - Thousands of Hong Kong demonstrators call for full democracy while hundreds line up to vote in an unofficial referendum. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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Thousands fill the streets of Hong Kong Wednesday demanding democracy.
The battle is intensifying over potentially watershed reforms that could see Hong Kong become the first city on Chinese soil to directly elect its leader.
Many want a voice in their own future.
(SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) PETER TSUI, 65-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER, SAYING:
"I'm protesting because every chief executive we've had has not been good, because they were appointed by Beijing. If we get to choose our own chief executive, it'll be better."
Beijing had promised direct elections in the former British colony as the goal for 2017, but the devil is in the details of the rules governing who can run.
The protesters want open nominations of candidates so that anyone, including China critics, can run for office.
Anson Chan, former chief secretary of Hong Kong, says it is all about choice.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANSON CHAN, FORMER CHIEF SECRETARY, SAYING:
"What we want is the right to elect our leaders so that our leaders have a genuine mandate to govern hong kong. This will improve governance, we also want to see Hong Kong people having a genuine choice in electing their leaders and no screening mechanism."
Continued discord over the city's future could culminate in a protest this summer called "Occupy Central."
It's aimed at shutting down the central business district of one of Asia's most important financial hubs.
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