Pro-Beijing ‘patriots’ have won the Hong Kong election by a narrow margin

  • Democrats abstain
  • CEO Lam says there was widespread support for the election process
  • ‘Democracy with Hong Kong Characteristics’ – Liaison Office

HONG KONG, Dec. 20 (Reuters) – Pro-Beijing candidates have won a reshuffle in the Hong Kong-only-patriotic assembly election, which critics say is anti-democratic.

The 30.2% turnout was half of the previous referendum in 2016, which was condemned by pro-democracy activists even after the imposition of a broader national security law and electoral changes to further consolidate the city from its dictatorial grip.

Almost all of the seats were occupied by pro-Beijing and pro-establishment candidates, some of whom cheered on stage at the counting center and chanted “Ensure victory”.

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Hong Kong President Gary Lam told a news conference on Monday that the turnout was “really low” but could not say why.

“But 1.35 million people are coming to the polls – this is not to say that this is not an election without much support from the people,” Lam said.

When asked if the low turnout was not a general mandate for his party, Starry Lee, leader of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance (DAP) for Progress and Progress in Hong Kong, which won half of the directly elected seats, told Patriots. – Rules will only improve administration.

Speaking to reporters at the counting center, he said, “This system needs some time for people to change themselves.

The election – which can only be contested by government-tested candidates as “patriots” – has been criticized as anti-democratic by some foreign governments, rights groups and major Hong Kong pro-democracy parties that did not take part in the vote.

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Most of the dozen or so candidates who call themselves moderates, including former Democrat legislator Frederick Fung, have succumbed to pro-Beijing rivals and failed to win a seat.

“Pushing people (to vote) is not easy. I think they are indifferent,” Fung told Reuters.

The previous record low in the Assembly elections held after the return of the city from the British to Chinese rule in 1997 was 43.6% in 2000. According to local media calculations, about 2% of the votes cast on Sunday were invalid, a record.

Candidates celebrate their victory in the by-elections in Hong Kong, China on December 20, 2021. REUTERS / Lam Yik

China’s liaison office in Hong Kong, which represents the Beijing government in Hong Kong, described the election as “a successful practice of democracy with the characteristics of Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong branch of China’s Foreign Ministry insisted that the election system was an internal affair and that “foreign forces” should not interfere.

In a 57-page white paper released on Monday, the Chinese government said it had provided consistent support for the development of Hong Kong’s “democratic system” and criticized the pro-democracy protests, which in 2019 were often violent. read more

Lam, who traveled to Beijing this week, said in his annual report to state leaders that the document would timely dismiss criticism of the election by foreign governments and the media.

HK style ‘democracy’

Political analysts say voting in elections where pro-democratic candidates are largely absent is a testament to legitimacy, and repression under the Security Act and other laws has imprisoned many. Democrats The one who wanted to run first, was forced to deport the others. read more

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Under an election shake-up announced by China in March, the proportion of directly elected seats was halved to less than a quarter or 20 seats. read more

Forty seats were selected by a group of Beijing loyalists, and the remaining 30 seats were filled by professional and business sectors such as finance and engineering.

Voting for these professional groups dropped from 74% in 2016 to 32.2%. Some sectors that have traditionally been pro-democracy have had very low rates, including education, social welfare and law.

In 2019, in the last major city election for district council seats, the turnout was 71%, with Democrats winning 90% of the 452 seats.

Xinhua, the state agency, said the results proved “the real will of the people”, while the pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao described it as the “most successful vote” since 1997.

Sunny Cheung, a Democrat who fled to the United States to escape prosecution under the Defense Act, said most Hong Kong people “boycotted the election to express their dissatisfaction with the world.”

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Additional Reporting by Jesse Pong and James Pomfred; Written by James Bamfred and Marius Zaharia; Editing Stephen Coates and Toby Chopra

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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