Among the 1,200 Hong Kong Chief Executive Election Committee members, 689 elected Leung Chun-ying to be the next city mayor on March 25 under the influence and active lobbying of the Liasion Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong. When the election result was released, thousands of demonstrators protested against the Beijing manipulation of the election process outside the temporary election venue.
The mock civil referendum
Before the election, between March 23-24, more than 220,000 Hong Kong citizens had participated in the mock “civil referendum” organized by the Public Opinion Programme of the Hong Kong University to express their discontent towards the small circle election and to assert their right to vote for the city mayor.
Despite the online voting system being attacked by hackers, thousands of legitimate voters (local residents aged over 18) insisted to queue outside polling stations to cast their ballots:
當時我身在其中, 寒風中大家也很自律, 有老中青, 更有媽媽在邊排隊邊給小朋友餵飯。
深明今天所為, 從64至71到323 etc., 未會於 有生之年 見証 民主之成果; 但為下一代…下兩代…下下下N代，我們是有責任的, 亦是 每個香港人 此時此刻 應盡的義務！
Thomas Pang was in the same queue with Leung and he explained why he decided to queue up for the mock election:
THAT IS THE PRESENT SITUATION BUT WE LOOK FOR A CHANGE. WE DO NOT WANT “PALACE POLITICS-CHINESE TYPE” ANY MORE. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE COME OUT TO VOTE. WE DO THIS BECAUSE WE DO NOT WANT OUR NEXT GENERATION COME THROUGHT ALL THIS AGAIN. I HOPE LOSO WILL UNDERSTAND.
Eventually, 222,990 people voted in the mock election, in which 54.6% cast blank votes. Leung Chun-ying only got 17.8% of the votes, a huge contrast with the result of small circle election, which was held in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
Protest outside the city hall on March 25
On March 25, more than 2,000 people protested outside the temporary election venue. Outraged by Leung's victory, they pushed the police barricades. Below are some photos taken by citizen journalists from inmediahk.net on the protest scene:
Joshua Wong, a young activist, reflected upon the demonstration and expressed his disappointment [zh] with people’s unwillingness to take action:
I remembered when I was sitting on the road outside the center, someone suddenly shouted, ‘CY Leung has won!’ People stood up and howled. They felt surprised. I was prepared for his victory, but did not expect he could win in the first round with 689 votes.
I was heartbroken when I was back home, not because of Leung's victory, but the feeling of cynicism and detachment: ‘Whoever will be the Chief Executive is not my concern, as long as [the society is] safe and harmonious’, ‘Impulse will lead to political chaos and destroy Hong Kong's image.’, ‘Useless even after protest’, ‘No real democracy in every part of the world'…
I really want to tell you all that, Leung's victory is not fearful; the fear is people's lack of concern on the threat of the future iron hand politics. Even if the repression of freedom of demonstration and assembly increases, I still believe in the power of people. In particular, I would continue to encourage students and friends to join social action, in particular to grasp the opportunity of the upcoming July 1 rally. Let our footstep tell the Chinese Communist regime that we don't want to have Leung Chun-ying who is “elected” by a small circle and with less than 18% public endorsement, to be our Chief Executive.
Another demonstration against Beijing intervention into local politics will be held the coming weekend on April 1.