Hong Kong has spoken … in the best way possible, at the ballot box. In what I think will be seen as, generally, free and fair district council elections ~ the only kind of democracy that exists in Hong Kong ~ nearly three million people came out to vote, a 71% voter turn out, a new record for Hong Kong (the highest turnout before had been 57%) and higher than the 65% turnout in Canada in October 2019. I know for a fact that people waited in long lines for hours ~ three in some cases ~ to vote. That is the true voice of the people. That sends the message that the world wants to hear and that Beijing needs to hear … but it may fall on deaf ears in the Zhongnanhai, in Beijing where Xi Jinping and the Central Committee of the Chinese government have their offices.
The South China Morning Post says that “Although the district councils handle local matters and have no direct say over the chief executive’s programme, the elections were seen as a barometer of support either for the anti-government protest movement or for the embattled leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her handling of the roiling unrest … [and] … With the thrashing suffered by the pro-Beijing camp, the government’s allies, it would appear Lam’s position was becoming increasingly untenable, even as she herself on Sunday tried to frame the elections as being about district-level matters.” That’s the right word: Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping and the other authoritarian leaders were thrashed at the polls by the ordinary people of Hong Kong … workers and students and civil servants and bus drivers and so on.
The South China Morning Post says that the results were:
Seventeen of 18 district councils are now led by, or in one case 100% represented by pro-democracy councillors. and those pro-democracy councillors will get 115-120 (10%) of the seats on the Election Committee that chooses the Chief executive. Ten per cent may not seem like much but one can be certain that many of the others on the Election Committee will be very, very aware of what this vote means.
The people have spoken. Their voice was loud (a record voter turnout) and clear (about 80% of those elected are pro-democracy). Beijing will be unmoved, for now, but aware and dismayed. Carrie Lam’s days are numbered, as they should be … but she’s been ‘dead’ for months, now.
Canada, in the person of Justin Trudeau, needs to speak out now, today, to congratulate the people of Hong Kong on making their voice, their democratic voice heard above the din of police bullets and tear gas shells. No one in Canada should give a damn about offending Xi Jinping or his new ambassador Cong Peiwu (see just below). Hong Kong has spoken: Canada must answer.