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Hong Kong's leader sends report to Beijing recommending changes to allow for greater democracy

  • Hong Kong China Tension-1.jpg

    Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, center, speaks at a meeting on proposing electoral reforms at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The chief executive has submitted a report to the National People's Congress Standing Committee on political reform, saying that the majority of Hong Kong people are eager to have universal suffrage in the chief executive election in 2017. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)The Associated Press

  • Hong Kong China Tension-2.jpg

    Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, wearing a red T-shirt in center, is stopped by security guards as he throws a plastic hammer towards Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, third from right, during a meeting on proposing electoral reforms at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The chief executive has submitted a report to the National People's Congress Standing Committee on political reform, saying that the majority of Hong Kong people are eager to have universal suffrage in the chief executive election in 2017. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)The Associated Press

Hong Kong has sent a report to Beijing recommending changes to allow for greater democracy in the southern Chinese city, kicking off a process that will ultimately let residents elect their leader for the first time in 2017.

Hong Kong's Beijing-backed leader, Leung Chun-ying, said in his report Tuesday that consultations with nearly 125,000 people and groups in the city found they were "eager" for universal suffrage.

The report, however, downplayed widespread calls for the public to nominate candidates free of China's vetting and is sure to add to discontent among residents already upset over Beijing's growing influence in the former British colony. On July 1, an estimated half a million people took to Hong Kong's streets in a rally to press for full democracy.