(CSM) China’s Communist authorities ruled out the possibility of direct elections in Hong Kong. The decision stunned and angered many ordinary people in KK and brought the strongest censure yet from the US and Britain. Over the past 10 months residents have marched in five peaceful protests asking for greater democracy in Hong Kong. They voted last November in local elections that clearly rebuffed Tung Chee-hwa, Beijing’s handpicked leader. In civic groups and in the press they spoke against Mr. Tung’s handling of SARS, the economy, proposed security laws, and the relationship with Beijing. Polls show 60 percent want direct elections; many assumed they had this right through the Basic Law under which Britain handed the colony over to China and that supposedly guarantees Hong Kong’s autonomy until 2047.