What people in Hong Kong are saying about district council elections

November 25, 2019 - 9:51 AM
Winning candidate Kelvin Lam and activist Joshua Wong greet people and thank them for their support, outside South Horizons Station, in Hong Kong
Winning candidate Kelvin Lam and activist Joshua Wong greet people and thank them for their support, outside South Horizons Station, in Hong Kong, China, November 25, 2019, the morning after Lam won in district council elections. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

HONG KONG — Here are comments from voters, politicians, activists and academics on Hong Kong‘s district council elections, where pro-democracy candidates romped to a landslide and symbolic majority after residents turned out to vote in record numbers on Sunday.

Ma ngok, political scientist at Chinese University 

“It’s a resounding victory (for the democrats) … The government and the pro-Beijing camp have always claimed they have public support. But now … this is a big slap in the face because the public has showed their real position in record numbers.

“Nobody could have predicted the turnout.

“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.”

Lester Shum, former HK student leader who was elected 

“I believe this result is because there are a lot of voters who hope to use this election and their vote to show their support for the (protest) movement, and their five demands, and their dissatisfaction with the Hong Kong government.

“That’s why so many people queued for one or two hours, no matter man or woman, young or old, they came out to vote. The district council is just one very important path of struggle. In future, we must find other paths of struggle to keep fighting.”

Andrew Chiu, winning Democrat

“Under the current political environment, a district council election that has come close to a universal suffrage situation clearly reflects people’s views and political leanings.”

Ted Hui, Democratic lawmaker who was re-elected

“I see this election as part of the anti-extradition movement,” said Hui, referring to a now-scrapped bill that would have allowed people to be extradited to mainland China for trial. “Today is only a small win in the … movement. I want to dedicate all the effort and glory to the frontliners and everyone who has participated in the movement.”

Pro-Beijing heavyweight Junius Ho, who lost to Democrats

“This is an exceptional year, exceptional election and unusual result,” Ho said on his Facebook page.

Jimmy Sham of Civil Human Rights Front, who won his seat 

“We have to be leaders of the community that listens to people’s voices and opinions. We also have to solve the community problem and perform better than the pro-establishment camp.”

Democracy candidate Leung Kwok-hung, also known as “long hair,” who lost 

“I let you all down today … but Hong Kong people will continue to fight. I hope everyone will give a big applause to the history we have created today.

“Most of the pro-establishment lawmakers have lost in this district council election. It shows the government today has zero acceptance … I urge Carrie Lam to respond to people’s demands … If I was her, I would prepare a resignation now.”

Andrew Li, 22, a student who supports Jimmy Sham 

“I think the performance of the pro-democracy camp will send an indicator to Beijing. By ignoring people’s demands, it wakes up all Hong Kong people to come out and vote.

“It is just a start to fight back this tyranny. We never forget how many people were sacrificed in this movement, ranging from those arrested to injured.”

Horace Cheung, a pro-Beijing lawmaker who lost 

“Our loss is not because of our work in the local districts, it’s because of the political sentiment … I have 500 more votes this time (than four years ago), but the high turnout makes me fail. That’s the reality.”

Alice Mak, pro-establishment lawmaker, who lost 

“Today’s result is the voters’ decision. We respect it. But, what we really want is that we finally find peace … We don’t want to mess up Hong Kong again.”

Ivan Choy, senior lecturer on electoral politics at Chinese University of Hong Kong 

“Most people have already considered it is a referendum. We see that the pro-democracy camp mobilized people based on ‘police brutality’ and ‘bad governance’, while the pro-establishment camp views this election as ‘saying no to violence’.

“As it is considered as a referendum, the turnout rate is a record high and the democratic camp scores a landslide victory – that has never happened in history. These two indicators are of utmost importance. It will let the international society be witness. Their support to Hong Kong democracy may be further assured, which embarrasses Beijing.

“The next move of the Hong Kong situation will be determined by responses from the Hong Kong government and Beijing after this election.”—Reporting by Felix Tam, Clare Jim and James Pomfret; Compiled by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Paul Tait