After six months of anti-government protesting, the public finally got to have their say.
And they spoke up loud and clear.
Sunday’s elections marked a rare weekend lull in the sometimes violent unrest, with pro-democracy candidates securing nearly 90% of the 452 district council seats, broadcaster RTHK reported, despite a strongly resourced and mobilized pro-establishment opposition.
Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, Carrie Lam, said in a statement the government respected the results and wished “the peaceful, safe and orderly situation to continue”.
…”This is the power of democracy. This is a democratic tsunami,” said Tommy Cheung, a former student protest leader who won a seat in the Yuen Long district close to China’s border.
“This district election shows that the central government needs to face the demands of a democratic system,” Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said. “Today’s result is the first step of our long way to democracy.”
In self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, the Presidential Office expressed “great admiration and support” for the election result.
They’re popping corks in celebration:
— Victor Ting (@VictorTing7) November 25, 2019
What happened to the establishment?
The collapse of the pro-Beijing vote revealed identity politics had overtaken community issues as a deciding factor in winning district council seats, analysts said on Monday, as they cast doubt on the existence of a so-called silent majority in support of the establishment.
The anti-government anger boiling up over nearly six months of protests made its mark in polling stations across Hong Kong on Sunday, when voters turned out in their droves to back the pan-democrats over their pro-establishment rivals.
By noon on Monday, the pro-democracy camp seized 17 out of 18 district councils, taking more than 340 of the 452 seats. All councils were previously under pro-establishment control after its candidates dominated the 2015 elections.
Islands district – which has 10 elected seats and eight given automatically to pro-establishment rural chiefs – was the only one held by the pro-Beijing camp.
…The academic also added it would be challenging for newly elected district councillors to deliver on their promises and strengthen their local support, because he said government officials had shown some extra reluctance in cooperating with pro-democracy councillors.
Oh look — Hong Kong has a Deep State of their own… and they are about as interested in the will of the People as ours is.
But not everyone is swept up in the optimism just yet. They see a much larger battle ahead.
Truth: #HongKong is far from real victory. Yesterday’s result just reassured #HKers’ determination to achieve #5DemandsNot1Less. District council election has No impact on UniversalSuffrage. Good to see pro-Beijing camp defeated. But reality #Beijing still controls our govt. pic.twitter.com/j6u5r3eFon
— Jennifer HY Chan 🇭🇰⛱ (@JenniferHYChan) November 25, 2019
All this talk of freedom makes the Pope’s public statements about the region seem … odd.
The wording he chose in three telegrams to regional leaders make it look like the Pope is recognizing China’s territorial claims over independent Taiwan, and is speaking of semi-independent Hong Kong — in the middle of their protests for freedom and a landslide election — as a territory of China, with zero references to the Hong Kong protests.
In his telegram to Carrie Lam, Francis again made no reference to the problematic situation, but he underscored Hong Kong’s status as a Chinese “territory,” despite its semi-independent status.
“As I fly over your territory, I extend my best wishes to your Excellency and your fellow citizens. Invoking divine blessings, I pray that almighty God may grant you all well-being and peace,” Francis wrote.
Numerous reports out of China suggest that the Vatican’s rapprochement with Beijing has done nothing to benefit Christians on the ground, but has rather emboldened authorities to crack down on religious practice and especially on Christians who refuse to align themselves officially with the party.
Well, Francis certainly is a long way from Pope Jean Paul II in his approach, isn’t he?