In this picture taken on April 22, 2015, pro-democracy demonstrators stage a protest outside the government building in Hong Kong. AFP PHOTO/Philippe Lopez
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Beijing Thursday defended Hong Kong's plan to vet candidates for its 2017 leadership election, saying it represented public opinion "from all walks of life" in the territory despite mass pro-democracy protests on the issue last year.Currently the city's leader is chosen by a 1,200-strong election committee.Beijing has promised universal suffrage for the 2017 vote, but has said that candidates must be approved first by a nominating committee.Pro-democracy lawmakers have vowed to block the roadmap when it goes to a vote in Hong Kong's legislature in the coming months -- which justice secretary Rimsky Yuen said would deprive citizens of a chance to vote.Civic Party legislator Kwok Ka-ki called the government "irresponsible" and said that the reform package "in no way" gave Hong Kong people a real choice.
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