As a pro-democracy movement gains steam in Hong Kong, some worry the campaign could hurt the city's competitiveness and rattle its financial market.
Last week, the "Occupy Central" movement launched an informal referendum on how Hong Kong should pick its chief executive. The turnout surpassed expectations, with over 700,000 citizens voting, online or in person, since June 20.
Although Beijing officials deemed the ballot illegal, organizers hope the high turnout will bolster the case for China to honor its promise to give the Special Administration Region (SAR) universal suffrage in 2017. Organizers also plan a massive sit-in in Hong Kong's financial district if officials don't accede to its demands.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, under the formula of "One Country, Two systems" which promises the city wide-ranging autonomy. But tensions escalated recently after Beijing released a "white paper" in which it reasserted its authority over Hong Kong.