Illustration: Xia Qing/ GT
The888 slot 7th Hong Kong District Council Election began at 8:30 am Sunday with over 600 general polling stations set up across various local districts in Hong Kong. This is the city's first major election since the overhaul of the electoral system and restructuring of the District Council setup.
I personally came to the voting booth at Wanchai where around 40 people were queueing to go inside, including a few young people and some elderly. The people queueing orderly to go inside were being guided by the staff.
It was clear people were keen to vote as they were willing to get up early. Some seats were set aside for the elderly. They had two separate queues, one for over 70 and handicapped voters and the other for voters who do not need special care.
It reminds me of my personal experience in the 2019 District Council Election when the city was still overshadowed by the riots. One of the staff members at the voting booth looked like he was about to shout at me when I was trying to put the ballot paper inside the ballot box. He could tell that I was pro-establishment because I appeared on the TV a lot. The atmosphere was extremely unpleasant at that time.
This year I paid particular attention to the attitude, demeanor and tone of the staff. They were polite and helpful. No one raised their voice at me.
I had five candidates to choose from and I was allowed to vote for only one candidate. As for the political spectrum of the candidates and their backgrounds, they are from different political parties and one independent candidate.
I heard rumors that someone is calling on young voters to swarm the voting booth or voting station late afternoon or in the evening to cast invalid votes so that the total number of votes is up but the number of valid votes is still low - trying to show the public's "disapproval."
The right to stand for election is not an unqualified right under the Basic Law. For example, candidates are subject to an age limit. Anyone of criminal character, or unsound mind, or anyone unable to manage their finances properly and became bankrupt, would all be disqualified from standing as a candidate.
The black-clad riots orchestrated by foreign subversive forces and coordinated by local anti-government proxies in 2019 sought to usurp political power by seizing control of the legislative council, so as to block all government bills and paralyze the Hong Kong government.
To seize control of the legislative council, the best way is to dominate the district council first so that these district councilors can be delivered into the legislative council with stable local support.
The basic political morality is to support the system that gives you power, rather than to overthrow it once you get power. Likewise, if a candidate's policy is to destroy the special administrative region of the People's Republic of China to become an independent country, in contravention of the Basic Law, this cannot be allowed even in the alleged most democratic countries like the US.
Before this District Council Election, there had been articles badmouthing the election. One such article in the Diplomat claimed that this election serves as a cautionary tale for the island of Taiwan. Indeed, Taiwan will have its election early next year. It would become stronger if it is united with the mainland. Western countries would only use Taiwan as a pawn toward undermining China, and once that strategy becomes ineffective, Taiwan will be ditched in no time.
Therefore, the future of Taiwan lies in uniting with the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao - truly becoming one great Chinese country in human history.
Post Sunday's District Council Election, I expect many young and professional, enthusiastic full-hearted representatives to work for the best interest of their respective communities, many people in need and those who are disadvantaged, all those who fell through the protection net of the existing system, would receive better care and welfare.
The author is a barrister and chairman of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation. [email protected]
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