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Hong Kong: Citizens Say No to Undemocratic City Mayor Election

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:

Polling station at Poly University on March 24. From Facebook Page: Civic Referendum

Polling station at Poly University on March 24. From Facebook Page: Civic Referendum

Facebook user Leung Chau Ming was queued outside one of the polling stations on March 23; he described [zh] the touching scene on the Facebook page of the civic referendum event:

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!

I was in the queue. We kept in order despite the gale. (There were) old people, adults and young guys. A mother even fed his son while queuing. I fully understand that despite all the struggles and rallies on June 4 [annual candle night vigil], July 1, and [this year] March 23 [rally against Beijing intervention on the election], etc, We probably will not see the fruit of democracy in our lifetime, but for our next generation, our next next generation,… N generations from now. We have responsibilities. It is also the obligation of every Hong Konger here and now!

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:

Protesters pushing the police barricades on March 25. Image by Flickr user inmediahk (CC BY-NC).

Protesters pushing the police barricades on March 25. Image by Flickr user inmediahk (CC BY-NC).

Protesters sitting outside the election hall. Image by Flickr user inmediahk (CC BY-NC).

Protesters sitting outside the election hall. Image by Flickr user inmediahk (CC BY-NC).

No to the small circle election: the Pig, the Wolf and the Dove. Image by Flickr user inmediahk (CC BY-NC).

No to the small circle election: the Pig, the Wolf and the Dove. Image by Flickr user inmediahk (CC BY-NC).

Joshua Wong, a young activist, reflected upon the demonstration and expressed his disappointment [zh] with people’s unwillingness to take action:

還記得今天在會展外的馬路坐下時,忽然有人大叫:「梁振英當選!」,群眾們立即站立起哄,面上流露著驚訝的神情。我本身對梁振英當選也有心理準備,但也想不到他可在第一輪投票以689票立即當選。

回家時十分痛心,我痛心的不是梁振英當選,我痛心的是大家的那種犬儒和事不關已的心態,「邊個做特首都唔關我事,平平安安和和諧諧咪算」、「懶衝動只會搞到政局亂哂搞臭香港個名」、「抗爭完都無用架啦」、「呢個世界邊有真正民主」……

我很想告訴大家,梁振英當選並不可怕,可怕的是大家對強勢政治和硬推政策無動於衷,即使將來對遊行集會的打壓會越來越強,但我乃我始終如一地相信群眾運動的力量,特別很想告訴各位同學和朋友,嘗試第一次的社會行動,把握今年的七一遊行,讓大家以一個又一個足印,告訴中共政權,我們不要這個由小圈子選舉產生,只有18%認受性的梁振英特首。

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.

1 comment

  • Actually the election wasn’t for a mayor. It was for a Chief Executive; as Hong Kong runs itself as a city state apart from China.

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