The Voters Have Quietly Awakened and Refused to Perish in Silence
In front of the polling stations of the District Council election in November, a crowd of people waited in silence to cast their ballots. No one shouted slogans or charged the police cordon line. The level of restraint and order shown by Hong Kong people a few days before the election day created the conditions for making history. In the No Canvassing Zone, millions of Hong Kong people launched a silent revolution. Eventually, nearly 1.7 million voters who refused to perish in silence, used votes, a quantifiable form of expression, to cast a vote of no confidence to tyranny.
The turnout rate for the current District Council election reaches 71%, which is the highest among the previous district and legislative elections in Hong Kong. Among the three million voters who have already voted, nearly 1.7 million voters supported the candidates recommended by the Pan-Democratic camp, which implies that the popular vote of Pro-democratic candidates comes close to 60%. Compared with the 2015 District Council election, the number of votes obtained by the Pan-Democratic camp increases by more than 1.08 million. After six months of Anti-Extradition Bill Movement, many Hong Kong people regard this election as a ‘referendum’ and ‘no-trust vote’ to the Hong Kong communist regime and as a punishment to the ‘pro-Beijing’ candidates who have become the accomplice of tyranny. Faced with the erosion of human rights in Hong Kong under the communist regime in recent years and the police violence in recent months, the election results have indeed helped Hong Kong people vent their anger.
However, the preliminary analysis of the election figures shows that, despite the collapse of the Pro-Beijing camp on the dominance of seats in the legislative council, the popular vote of the pro-Beijing candidates remains firmly at 40%, and the total number of votes also increased by four-hundred thousands, which grows by 50% compared to the previous election. Although Hong Kong has experienced a round of political awakening during the Anti-extradition Bill Movement, it is not to the extent that could fundamentally crush the support base of the Pro-Beijing side. Furthermore, the next year's Legislative Council election will adopt a proportional representation system. As long as the votes are properly allocated, the impact of the dominant numbers of the pro-democracy camp to the pro-Beijing side is expected to reduce to a large extent. That being said, it is worth mentioning that although studies show that the phenomenon of pro-democratic candidates competing with each other in the same district was more common than the previous year, the anticipation of votes being divided was not as serious as expected. The impact of votes being divided was lessened due to the high voter turnout; moreover, the candidates who were suspected to be sent by the pro-Beijing camp and ran for office in order to divide the pro-democratic votes only obtained a double-digits number of votes, which is insignificant from the perspective of the popular vote. Compared to the previous years in which these candidates secured more than one hundred or even a few hundred votes, this year the number decreased significantly. Overall, it shows that focusing on a single issue, the Pan-democratic camp’s ability to control the consistency of the distributed information and the discipline of voters have gradually become matured. If the polarised social atmosphere continues, and the Pan-democratic camp can coordinate aptly, it is not impossible for the Pan-democratic camp to allocate votes district-by-district in next year's Legislative Council election.
The twelve candidates of the Labour Party and the Community March, which have been fully supported by the HKCTU, had a landslide victory, with a 100% success rate. The result gives workers’ rights activism a big boost. Among the elected candidates, the candidates who have been working in the community for more than four years, including Lam Gin Cheung (Yau Oi South), Lam Ming Yan (Yau Oi North), Mak Dak Jing (Sai Wan Ho), Ho Wai Leun (Lower Yiu Tung) and Wo Yip Wing ( Chung On) were elected with a popular vote of over 60%, which far exceeds the average popular vote of the Pan-Democratic camp. Based on a rough estimation, the five candidates mentioned above still have enough votes to defeat their opponents after deducing this year’s increased percentages of the popular vote of the Pan-Democratic camp. It proves that profound community work is still the key to winning District Council elections.
With the authorization of the public, the elected members of the District Council have a greater responsibility in continuing this politically awakening movement. As the political climate is anticipated to ease gradually, the reformation of the functions of the District Council, the democratisation of community planning, the curbing and investigation of police brutality, the mobilisation of residents, and the construction of civic society will become effective methods for the District Council to counter tyranny. 1.7 million voters have quietly awakened. Please do not let them become voiceless again. Hong Kong people refuse to perish in silence.