PEOPLE’S POWER’s Landslide Victory in HONG KONG
On the 9th of June 2019, the young generation of Hong Kong started their pro-democracy cry against the Anti-ELAB – Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill on an ongoing series of demonstrations, which has remained never-ending till this very day of 26th of November 2019. Hong Kong CEO, a pro-Beijing politician persisted with the bill in spite of the massive mass demonstrations to anger the public further more. From a just few hundred youth, the rise of people’s power saw more than 2 million people on the street in coming weeks.
The pro-democracy demonstrations five key demands were – Complete withdrawal of the Anti-ELAB; Investigate Police Brutality and Misconduct; Release arrested demonstrators; Complete retraction of the official characterization of the protests as ‘Riots’; and CEO Carrie Lam’s Resignation, along with the introduction of universal suffrage for election of the Legislative Council and the Chief Executive. Mainland China refused to give in to the pro-democracy’s cry for justice to fulfill their demands.
The protests of the millions continued against the power of riot forces’ brutal attack with tear gas, rubber bullets, batons, water cannons and even live rounds. Destruction, chaos, injuries and protests became the new normal in Hong Kong under CEO Carrie Lam. She was forced to give in first to suspend the Anti-ELAB and finally conceded her defeat by declaring on the 23rd October 2019 to completely withdraw the Bill. However, the other four demands of the demonstrators remained unfulfilled till this day.
Violence on the streets finally shifted to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to become fierce as riot forces forced their entry to arrest the protestors and capture the campus. Amidst this chaos, Carrie Lam declared that the Hong Kong District Councils Elections would take place as scheduled on the 24th of November 2019. It is interesting to note that the remarkable unity of Hong Kong protests of the millions have remained leaderless throughout this past few months.
The anger within the young generations, with a majority of the population’s strong support, in Hong Kong from the past few months saw the rise of people’s power in the political arena at the 2019 Hong Kong District Councils Elections. It was amazing to see 71% of the registered voters lined-up from early morning to vote till late evening hours. The local election became the crux of the 2019 Hong Kong ongoing protests against the power of pro-Beijing establishment.
Out of the total of 479 seats, a total of 452 seats were contested. As many as three million people in Hong Kong voted for the very first time in District Councils Elections. The pro-democracy camp fielded their candidates in all the 452 seats in 18 Councils, in spite of multiple attacks on the candidates. 17 District Councils were won by the pro-democracy camp, leaving just a single District for Carrie Lam’s pro-Beijing party – indeed a big shame!
The results astounded Beijing with the deafening echo sound of the people’s power. The pro-democracy camp drubbed Carrie Lam’s pro-Beijing camp winning an outstanding 389 seats out of the total 452 seats. The landslide victory of the pro-democracy camp announced the biggest failure of Carrie Lam’s career as the CEO of Hong Kong. In the 2015 Hong Kong District Councils Elections, the pro-Beijing party won to control 17 District Councils. This time, the result was reversed in favour of the pro-democracy camp.
Carrie Lam tried his level best to curtail the prominence of the world’s most powerful youth leader Joshua Wong. Ten days after the nomination period, Returning Officer Dorothy Ma Chau Pui-fun reported indefinitely sick and was replaced by the acting Returning Officer Laura Liang Aron by Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam. Laura Liang Aron disqualified Joshua Wong from running for the election citing his political stance. It was clear that Mainland China was interfering in Hong Kong District Councils Elections with their dubious plot to restrict Wong’s popularity.
This ploy of Carrie Lam was well-anticipated by Joshua Wong, who played safe by placing Kelvin Lam Ho-por as his substitute in case such a thing would take place. It did happened and Wong won this act over Carrie Lam with his smart move of keeping the substitute ready. The stupendous loss in the local Councils elections also indicates the ineffective leadership of CEO Carrie Lam. While she preaches of moral duty and ethics to the youth, she should step down for failing the big test to respect the declaration of the 3 million voters’ mandate.
It is interesting to note that previously the pro-democracy camp had only 124 seats and this time, they won 389 seats in the most fascinating win ever in Hong Kong District Councils Elections till date. The pro-democracy camp also captured 117 District Council sub-sector seats in the 1,200-member Election committee. Pro-Beijing camp won just 61 seats losing more than 242 seats in the bargain. The Election Committee is responsible to elect the CEO of Hong Kong.
DAB – Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the flagship pro-Beijing party faced its largest defeat in Hong Kong’s history losing hundred of seats. The pro-democracy camp was so effective in their united campaign that Regina Ip’s New People’s Party even failed to win a single seat in this election. Prominent leaders and heavyweights from pro-Beijing party lost their re-election, including the controversial key anti-protest figure Junius Ho – who was seen shaking hands with the White T-Shirts triads after they had attacked pro-democracy protestors at the metro station in Yuen Long on the 22nd July 2019.
At the 2016 Legislative Councils Elections, an estimated 1.47 million people had voted. For the first time in Hong Kong’s history an estimated 2.94 million plus voters lined-up in the local Councils election. The never-ending protests triggered the large number of people to come forward to strongly support the younger generation, who are fighting for their freedom and rights. Carrie Lam conceded her defeat by stating that she would listen humbly to voters, who drubbed the pro-Beijing party.
On the 24th of November 2019, for the very first time since 9th June 2019 – Hong Kong was peaceful with colorful sea of people lining up quietly waiting for their turn to vote. Riot forces were placed as a precautionary step to overlook election centres and maintain peace and security. It was interesting to see protestors and riot forces mingling with each other as if nothing ever had happened since the last five plus months. One of the voters expressed how Carrie Lam had degraded Hong Kong with her adamant attitude to make the situation worse for everyone.
The pro-democracy demonstrators in millions on the streets of Hong Kong is indeed an inspiring sight for the whole world to see and learn about the old adage – ‘United we stand strong’. In the past few months, Hong Kong streets were filled with sea of people demanding their rights and freedom from Mainland China. The leaderless movement saw their first victory, when CEO Carrie Lam had to finally withdraw the Anti-ELAB altogether in October 2019. The second win of the people’s power was drubbing the pro-Beijing party at the 2019 Hong Kong District Councils Elections.
The District Councils deals with local livelihood issues like Traffic and Hygiene. However, the pro-democracy camp’s landslide victory has significantly enhanced its role in the making. It is also symbolic in nature. It will be really interesting to see how these young leaders are going to shape-up their Hong Kong for the future. Carrie Lam had never even imagined that the protestors would allow the elections to happen, forget about contesting peacefully and thrashing pro-Beijing party in such a fashion. Amidst the ongoing violent protests, Carrie Lam had insisted that the elections would be held as planned.
Carrie Lam threw the challenge in protestors’ arena and the pro-democracy camp took it heads on to teach her the lesson of her life. Hong Kong citizen flew from Singapore just to vote for the first time in the District Councils Elections. The pro-democracy camp called to exercise restraint and rebuilt the so-called ‘Lennon Walls’ to rally public support, paste promotional materials and canvassing on street corners. This election was inspiring because the young generation showed Beijing that they are not ready to give up their rights to live.
The pro-democracy camp also realized that it would be safer to be part of politics rather than protests on the streets with dangers lurking at every single step. With 389 individuals making their strong entry in local political arena, they have announced their next move is winning every election hereafter to govern their own region effectively. The win also has alarmed the governing body to listen to the people of Hong Kong and act on what they say for the better future of the region.
The younger generation of Hong Kong wish to live with their ‘Rights’ intact and respected by the Constitution and the governing bodies. They are ready to fight on the streets, as well as, in the corrupt political arena by protecting their rights and voicing their concern, if it affects public at large.