Macau, China, 28 Feb -Three local netizens yesterday launched a so-called "Jasmine rally" on the city’s main square, Largo do Senado, to push for democratic development in the mainland.
The campaign, called "Tribute to Jasmine – A Stroll for Democracy in China", was launched last week by Jason Chao Teng Hei, Scott Chiang Meng Hin and Choi Chi Chio through Facebook.
The three campaigners are members of the grass-roots New Macau Association (NMA), which has three directly-elected seats in the 29-member Macau Legislative Assembly (AL).
The activists told reporters on Largo do Senado they decided to call their action "Jasmine rally" -instead of "Jasmine Revolution", the name given to the Tunisian protest movement.
Chiang added the trio launched the local campaign in reaction to similar Sunday Jasmine rallies in the mainland.
The rally started at 3 p.m. and lasted an hour. During the rally, the activists handed out white peonies to passers-by instead of jasmine flowers, which currently are hard to find as they are out of season until May.
The passers-by – who included many mainland tourists – were asked to drop a blessing note and folded paper flowers into a box that was placed in the square to show their support for dissidents in the mainland. Some of the passers-by took up the activists’ request to deliver a short speech to express their hope for democratic development in the mainland. The song "Jasmine Flower" was also played during the rally.
Chiang said the main purpose of the "Jasmine rallies" across the mainland was to ask for the protection of people’s basic rights that have been laid out in the constitution, including the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and protection of private property.
"I think that now is the time for the ruling [Communist] Party [of China] to show the people [how to protect people’s basic rights]," he said.
"Thus we have organised this programme [rally] calling on Macau’s residents to walk around Largo de Senado to express our concerns about the future of our state [nation] and also to take part to improve [the situation related to the protection of people’s basic rights in the mainland]," he added.
According to Chiang, the activists plan to send the blessing notes and paper flowers to dissents in the mainland.
"I will make every effort to put the information about [yesterday’s] event on the Internet for mainlanders to know that their movement has drawn our support," he added.
Another participant, NMA legislator Au Kam San, said during the event that no matter who organised the "Jasmine rallies" in the mainland cities or Macau, no one was calling for "the [central] govern-
Chiang also said that his group prepared several hundred flowers for yesterday’s event, but added that it was hard to give an exact number of those who actually took part or showed some interest in the rally as the organisers had not requested anyone to walk around the square with them.
Jeremy Che, who participated in the rally, told reporters that residents in Hong Kong and Macau should support mainlanders’ movements for democracy and the protection of their basic rights.
He also said that Hong Kong and Macau citizens should treasure the freedom they have in being able to publicly express their opinions.