Voters in Hong Kong on Nov. 24 overwhelmingly chose pro-democracy candidates over their pro-communist China foes.
“The people of Hong Kong have spoken – if you abandon Hong Kongers and our struggle for democracy, we will abandon you in the ballot box,” the Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC), an anti-communist group, said in a statement following the election.
Sunday’s vote had a 71 percent turnout, up from 47 percent four years ago in the same elections, according to the Electoral Affairs Commission.
Fox News reported that among the winners were former student leaders and a candidate who replaced prominent activist Joshua Wong, the only person barred from running in the election. Rally organizer Jimmy Sham, who suffered a beating by hammer-wielding attackers last month, also triumphed, as did a pro-democracy lawmaker who had part of his ear bitten off by an assailant.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s District Council election, the establishment pro-China block was left with only 60 seats on the council.
“This is political annihilation for Beijing and it’s going to have consequences that are going to reverberate not just in Hong Kong itself, but perhaps in China as well,” Asia analyst and foreign affairs journalist Gordon Chang said on Fox News’ “America’s News HQ” on Sunday.
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Pro-democracy, anti-China candidates won 347 of the District Council’s 452 seats. Another 45 seats went to “independent” candidates, most with sympathies for the official pro-democracy parties.
“Today’s result represents (my constituency’s) support to protesters. The government should immediately establish the Five Demands and respond to the public’s voices,” said a Facebook post by Sham, a newly elected District Council member who still needs crutches to get around after being attacked by hammer-wielding communists last month.
“The voice coming from the ballot box is loud and clear: we want (Chief Executive) Carrie Lam to withdraw the police from PolyU … we want the current administration to consider resignation, from the top down to all politically accountable secretaries and Executive Council members,” Civic Party chairman and former lawmaker Alan Leong Ka-kit said.
According to reports, Lam ordered riot police to storm Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) last week, trapping hundreds of students inside and destroying the campus.
Lam issued a statement applauding what she said were free and fair elections, though Beijing, through its state propaganda outlets complained of alleged foreign intervention.
“I sincerely thank the public for their active participation in the District Council election,” Lam said in her statement. “In general, the election yesterday was held in a peaceful, safe and orderly manner. After the social unrest in the past five months, I firmly believe that the vast majority of the public would share my wish for the peaceful, safe and orderly situation to continue.”
On Fox News, Chang noted that Lam “reports directly to Xi Jinping. She no longer has any freedom of action. If he tells her not to give ground, which is what he’s been doing for the last several months, then you’re going to see Hong Kong erupt because, you know, people have expressed their will.”
“If the political establishment doesn’t make concessions, then we don’t know where this will go, but we know that will become probably much more violent and the protests will become even larger,” Chang added.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing on Nov. 25 that “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong” and reiterated the government’s support for Lam.
“Stopping violence and restoring order is the paramount task in Hong Kong at the moment,” Geng said.
U.S. President Donald Trump expressed concern about the possible repercussions that the Hong Kong elections could have on an impending trade deal with China.
In a “Fox & Friends” interview late last week, Trump said: “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine… I stand with Hong Kong. I stand with freedom. I stand with all the things that we want to do but we also are in the process of making the largest trade deal in history.”