Tongue-Tied in Hong Kong: The Fight for Two Systems and Two Languages

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In 2012, C. Y. Leung was sworn into office as chief executive of Hong Kong after a controversial campaign. Because of Hong Kong’s unique “one country, two systems” arrangement with mainland China, he was elected to the territory’s highest office not by the direct vote of the citizens of Hong Kong but by an election committee of 1,200 members, widely viewed as a political cabal with economic and political ties to Beijing. Leung’s online critics nicknamed him 689, a reference to the actual number of votes that he received from the group of Beijing insiders out of the city’s 3.5 million registered voters.

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Foreign Affairs

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