USA greets Hong Kong people on free, fair district council polls

Clay Curtis
November 27, 2019

On Tuesday, when Lam met the press for the first time after the pro-Beijing camp's catastrophic defeat, she only claimed that she will "seriously reflect" the election results, framing the results as people's desire to "end violence".

On June 13, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, told BBC that it had forgotten about Hong Kong's "silent majority", referring to Hongkongers who did not join over 1 million people who took to the streets in Hong Kong on June 9.

Chinese officials, for their part, reacted more tersely than their ally in the chief executive's office. "This needs to be changed".

Significantly, as the pro-democracy parties won majorities on nearly all of the district councils, the bloc will likely be given 117 seats on the election committee which chooses Hong Kong's chief executive.

The embattled Lam said she hoped the peaceful weekend was not just for the elections but a signal that people in the Chinese-ruled city wanted an end to violence. "They didn't expect the pro-Beijing parties to lose so badly, so now they are looking for someone to blame".

Only 21 candidates from Hong Kong's biggest pro-establishment party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) won in the elections. Anthony Cheung, former secretary of transport and housing, suggested, "Sensible Beijing officials should have a good grasp of public sentiment in Hong Kong after the election results".

She added that the review committee would look at the British Government's responses to London's 2011 Tottenham riots to inform the Hong Kong Government's understanding of the city's present social unrest.

When another reporter asked whether she would give some concessions to protesters, Lam responded by saying that she had announced the formal withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill, which sparked the current protests, back on September 4.

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He said, "Most people think the extra one million voters came out to send a political message to the government, that they still support the protesters and they're dissatisfied with the government". "At the back is a steep tree-covered hill ringed with fencing, while on another side lies a conference center".

Since then, Lam has repeatedly said that she is reaching out to the community through her community dialogues and is restricted to this format because of recent violence. With almost 10,000 tear gas canisters fired by the police, countless injuries and deaths, plus more than 5,000 arrests of protesters as young as 12 years old, the people of Hong Kong will remember that the results of this election were paid with the high price of physical and emotional traumas they have endured for the past six months.

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Mr Lam said, "The high turnout rate did benefit the pro-democracy camp".

"I'm afraid that the radical protesters will start clashes with the police again", he said. But I'd like to see them work it out.

China's central government has continued its support for Lam and refused to give in to protesters' demands.

The poll outcome has re-energised calls by the pro-democracy camp for direct popular elections for the city's leadership and legislature and a probe into alleged police brutality against demonstrators.

"Let me just stress that after these five-six months, Hong Kong people have realized very clearly that Hong Kong could no longer tolerate this chaotic situation", Lam said at her weekly news conference.

Search teams sweeping the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus for a second straight day found no evidence of any protesters still holding out, said university vice president Miranda Lou.

"Although only a few are left on campus, they are still our citizens". The analysis apparently didn't discover a man who advised reporters earlier than daybreak that he was completely happy to dwell in college and that "everybody can cease worrying about us. We're going to stay here".

According to partial returns as of 9 a.m. Monday (Nov. 25) morning, the pro-democracy candidates have won 387 out of 452 seats in the Hong Kong local elections, indicating voters have expressed their support for the ongoing protests.

The Polytechnic University campus was the last of five that protesters had occupied to use as bases from which to disrupt the city, blocking the nearby Cross-Harbour Tunnel linking Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and other arteries. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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