Foreign Secretary Statement on Hong Kong elections, 25 November 2019

Tuesday, 26 Nov, 2019

In a rout that stunned the semi-autonomous territory, candidates seeking to loosen control by China seized an overwhelming majority of the 452 elected seats in the city's 18 district councils, bodies that have historically been firmly in the grip of a Beijing-aligned establishment. Now, according to the local media reports, they won only 42 seats and likely lost control over all councils but one.

Although the pro-China camp is bravely trying to suggest that the election should be seen as a reflection of mundane local matters, it is hard to ignore the reality that the victorious candidates campaigned on explicitly pro-democracy platforms, largely overlooking district issues.

The vote was a major symbolic blow to pro-China forces that dominate Hong Kong politics, and the latest evidence of continued public support for a five-month-old pro-democracy movement that has become increasingly aggressive.

Pop singer and activist Denise Ho said that the vote is an "indirect referendum" and part of the protest movement. "The worldwide community must acknowledge that, nearly six months in, public opinion has NOT turned against the movement", student activist Joshua Wong said on Twitter.

Dozens of newly elected councillors marched on Monday evening on the campus urging police to allow the small number of hardcore protesters who remain holed-up inside to leave freely.

Hong Kong opposition, joined by a plethora of United States lawmakers, have rejoiced at the result, with Sen. "Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong", Geng said.

Early on Sunday morning, Hong Kongers lined up in front of the polling stations to exercise their right to vote.

"I hope this will accelerate the process of actually resuming imports of Japanese beef, and that people in China will enjoy our delicious farm products, which are pride of Japan, to their heart's content", he said.

Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. As long as elections are held, there will be swings. With its victory in the district elections, the pro-democracy camp will be able to secure 117 seats in the 1200-member committee.

There can be no question of a return to normality in Hong Kong as long as political demands are being ignored by the leadership.

Police promised a heavy security presence at voting locations. They lost because a surge of new voters signed up for the polls, many of them younger and for the first time, who evidently cast their ballots for the democrats. At others, teams of riot police waited in nearby vans.

"The overwhelming majority that voted against the government shatters its claim to any legitimacy", Professor Ma said.

Protests have continued since then, with the bill finally dropped altogether in September, but the demands from protesters have evolved. Hui was recently arrested after he allegedly tried to stop police from arresting a couple during clashes between protesters and police.

It's a great humiliation for Hong Kong Chief Carrie Lam and especially for Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

They haven't made their plans clear or whether, if the government still doesn't respond to their demands in the wake of the election setback, they will return to the streets.

Vote counting was underway in Hong Kong early Monday after a massive turnout in district council elections. I wish the pro-democracy camp can be united and take advantage of the victory, " Wu said. "Because of this constitutional linkage, it makes the significance of the district council much bigger than its powers show you".

The people of Hong Kong have said in no uncertain terms that they want change. Almost 386,000 people have registered to vote in the past year, the most since at least 2003.

"The prime minister pointed out the importance of a free and open Hong Kong prospering under one country, two systems", Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

China's top legislature said last week that Hong Kong courts have no power to rule on the constitutionality of legislation under the city's Basic Law, a day after Hong Kong's High Court had ruled a controversial ban on wearing face masks was unconstitutional.