On November 24th, Hong Kong citizens went to the voting booths for the city’s local elections. The city’s pro-Beijing party lost heavily in the election, with the “pro-Democracy” candidates winning 90% of the city’s 452 district council seats.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam admitted that the local elections revealed that the people of Hong Kong were genuinely unhappy with the government, and with herself specifically.
“I did confess that this particular election has clearly reflected that many voters wanted to express their opinions and views to the government, to myself,” she said.
“The views and opinions expressed … are quite diverse. There are people who want to express the view that they could no longer tolerate the violence on the streets. There are of course people who felt that the government has not handled competently the legislative exercise and its aftermath.”
She further said that the Hong Kong government would heavily reflect on the results and would continue to serve the people and that she would “improve governance.”
Carrie Lam said that Beijing was not holding her accountable for the election defeat and that she still had China’s support. She said that Beijing played no role in the elections.
“Everyone values the results for sure, but the process is also important,” she said. “If we held an election that contravened the principle of rule of law and fairness, that would have caused much more harm to Hong Kong. I am glad to see the whole election process being held in an orderly manner.”
Asked if she would address the protesters’ five demands, including the setting up of a commission of inquiry to look into police use of force, Lam said she had already addressed those issues.
“We have stressed that anyone should not resort to violence for any demands, as violence could not solve anything,” she said. “From the polling results, we can also see many voters hoping to demonstrate their dissatisfaction against violence with their votes.”
The voter turnout was 71.2% and the day went largely without incident. The previous highest voter turnout was 47.1% in 2015, so this set a record. Out of the 7.40 million people in the region, 4.13 million registered to vote.
This is historic. Early returns suggest a landslide victory for the opposition camp. Hong Kongers have spoken out, loud and clear. The international community must acknowledge that, almost six months in, public opinion has NOT turned against the movement. https://t.co/zHFfC85YgC
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) November 24, 2019
The District Councils have little power in the Hong Kong government, but they allegedly show the general attitude of the public, without the need to destroy public property and resort to violence.
Western media immediately jumped on the band wagon saying that this was showing of Beijing losing grip of the city and people finally choosing democracy.
CNN noted on the eve of the election, “offers the first objective test of how people in the city feel about the protests and the government.”
The National Interest in typical strong anti-Beijing manner reported that pro-Beijing candidates were “annihilated” at the elections.
At the same time, the elections are an actual victory of the Hong Kong government and Beijing – they’ve proven to the “international community” that democratic and fair elections were held, despite the constant accusations of tyranny and repression.
All MSM coincidentally fails to “notice” that fact.
Rioters have crossed every red line, with throwing petrol bombs, setting businesses and even people on fire, simply for being pro-Beijing. In response, the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Government organized fair and democratic elections in which people were allowed to peacefully express their attitude.
At the same time, it could be argued that many were afraid of expressing their pro-Beijing views. However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that these elections meant very little in the broader perspective and that Hong Kong is China, regardless of the outcome.
“Our position is crystal clear. The central government firmly supports the Chief Executive Carrie Lam in leading the Hong Kong government, supports the police in enforcing law and restoring order, and supports the judicial organs in punishing violent criminals.,” said Geng Shuang, Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
“Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong,” Geng said.
Geng repeated claims by Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier in Tokyo, claiming that Hong Kong matters were China’s domestic affairs. Wang told reporters in Tokyo: “Any attempts to undermine the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong will end in failure.”
He underlined Beijing’s commitment to enforcing the “one country, two systems” framework.
Chinese media reported that social unrest played a role in the election process and seriously disrupted it. China Daily said the poll was “skewed by intimidation” and “dirty tricks”.
The outlet said “violent intimidation tactics were intended to reduce the exposure and visibility of pro-establishment candidates”.
“External forces that have helped stoke the months-long anti-government campaign in the special administrative region also contributed greatly to damaging the election chances of pro-establishment candidates,” it said.
Xinhua also reported that the elections “fell victim to rioters.”
“Campaigns of some patriotic candidates were seriously disrupted, and their offices were trashed and set ablaze,” the outlet reported. “One candidate was injured in an attack. Harassment on patriotic candidates occurred on the voting day.”
Finally, it should be noted that most of the seats were won, but the election was not a landslide victory as MSM would suggest it was. The “pro-democracy” candidates won 90% of the seats, but with 60% of the vote, so it wasn’t as “landslide” as presented. The threat of violence more than likely played a role in what people voted for.
Furthermore, the vote wasn’t won by a single “pro-democratic” party, but rather by several which are showing little coordination with each other.
Chung Kim-wah, assistant professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which was a siege-like standoff for upwards of a week between rioters and Hong Kong police. Upwards of 4,000 petrol bombs were discovered on campus.
“It’s noteworthy that pro-Beijing camp still won [up to] 40% of the [total number of] votes, thanks partly to their years-long experience in community work and strong connections in local districts,” Chun Kim-wah said. “The pan-democrats still face an uphill battle next year.”
He, furthermore, said that the vote did show people’s discontent with the current leadership.
This, however, presents an opportunity for the Hong Kong government and Beijing to adjust its strategy, ahead of the September 2020 Legislative Council elections.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- U.S. Opens Up Another Front In Cold War Against China As Congress Passes Hong Kong Democracy Act
- Chaos In Hong Kong: Nearly 4,000 Petrol Bombs Discovered By Police And 1,100 Arrested As PolyU Siege Nears End
- Hong Kong Rioters Burned Police Vehicle With Petrol Bomb (Video)