ong Kong’s protesters took a break from demonstrations over the weekend to vote, resulting in an electoral landslide of historic proportions that erases any doubts about popular support for the pro-democracy movement and about widespread hostility for Carrie Lam’s government.
Here’s a few important numbers from Sunday’s district council elections:
- Pro-democracy candidates have won at least 390 of the 452 (86 percent) available seats
- 17 of the city’s 18 councils are now controlled by pro-democracy councilors.
- Nearly 3 million people voted in the election; a turnout of more than 71 percent. That’s compared with 1.4 million voters and a 47 percent turnout in 2015
Generally, Hong Kong’s local elections aren’t given much attention abroad. The councilors have little political power and instead deal mostly with very local matters like trash collection. However, this was the first time that the city’s electorate got the chance to make its voice heard at the ballot box regarding the months of protests and the government’s response to the demonstrations.
Reportedly, the Hong Kong government and Beijing were optimistic that the so-called “silent majority” would turn out to reject the protests, which have thrown the city into chaos for the past six months with unrest only turning more violent over time.
However, that’s not quite what happened.
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
One of Sunday’s pro-Beijing losers was the notorious Junius Ho — he who was rumored to be behind a metro station attack on protesters and was later stabbed while out campaigning on the street. Following his loss, Ho declared that “heaven and earth have been turned upside down.”
Chinese state media have also not taken the drubbing well, accusing protesters of tampering with a fair election by misleading elderly voters and even snatching their ID cards.
— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) November 25, 2019
While also partially blaming interference from foreign media outlets for the defeat.
The West has been helping HK opposition in district council elections in the past week. Australian media suddenly broke a story of a Chinese spy infiltrating in HK defected to Australia (The man is a convicted fraudster).
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 24, 2019
Meanwhile, pro-democracy supporters have been singing a different tune, arguing that the results of the election show that Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam ought to finally resign and allow for a change in leadership and direction to take place.
Lam herself has promised to “seriously reflect” upon her positions and keep an “open mind.”