Pro-democracy protests have been going on in Hong Kong for several months. Student demonstrations continue against new laws imposed by the central Chinese government in Beijing. Some of the protests turned violent, and the group appeared to shrink to a small group of hardcore activists. A recent election in the city has revealed, however, that the protestors have wide support.
The district council election in Hong Kong gave a landslide victory to the pro-democracy camp. This is thought to reflect public opinion on the Chinese Communist Party’s interference in the governance of the former British colony.
A record-breaking 71% of voters cast their ballots in the election. Of the 452 contested seats, pro-democratic candidates won 385, collecting more than 85% of the votes.
In the previously Beijing-friendly district of Wan Chai, the pro-government share dropped from 84% in 2015 to only 30% in 2019. Candidates who support the protesters, now in their sixth month of activism, won 17 out of 18 districts.
Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed that she “respected the results.” She said that “quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people’s dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society.” She promised the government would “humbly and seriously reflect” on the election result.
No Democracy – Yet
Despite the landslide victory, the election will not directly impact the government. Even with the new district council members, the pro-democracy camp likely does not hold a majority, although it is close.
The protesters now officially know that most people in Hong Kong are on their side, which lends them credence in the international community. Consequently, Western countries are more likely to voice support to the protesters as a legitimate movement backed by the people. This election has boosted morale and confidence in the pro-democracy movement.