Hong Kong keeps ‘least representative election’ title

Hong Kong’s five-yearly ‘elections’ for Chief Executive are a stage-managed farce. You are supposed to think that the vote is restricted to 1,200 members of an ‘Election Committee’ who are mostly selected for their pro-Beijing credentials. But even such a tightly constrained franchise is too unpredictable for the control-obsessed Chinese Communist Party. The winner is in fact decided in advance in Beijing, and a totally dependable and obedient core numbering a bit over 600 members of the Committee vote in accordance with instructions.

People who mock CY Leung as ‘689’ for the number of votes he received in 2012 are therefore missing the point. Whatever the number of votes, the Election Committee was serving as a rubber stamp; his lack of legitimacy would be the same whether he had 389, 689 or 989 ‘votes’.

Still, as a quantifiable way to illustrate the absence of a popular mandate, 689 (make-believe) votes is pretty vivid. It’s barely 0.010% of Hong Kong’s population. Even if it were a real, open, non-rigged poll, it would be laughed off as so unrepresentative as to be meaningless.

Yet when Ted Cruz gets votes from just 0.016% of the US population in Iowa’s primary, it is a major story because everyone believes/hopes that it means something momentous. Specifically, they see an omen that Cruz can beat Donald Trump, and – Cruz being even more, and more genuinely, slimy, scary and loathsome compared with faking-it Trump – this in turn means Republicans will ultimately rally round the dashing Marco Rubio as a least-repulsive, theoretically electable candidate. It’s a lot of meaning to squeeze out of the red dots you can barely see here…


Similarly, people are reading a lot into the Democrats’ results. They see the tiny handful of votes and coin-tossings between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as a signal that the US is headed for Socialism with Vermonter Characteristics, or that Hillary is a definite shoe-in – it’s very clear and obvious either way.

The Hong Kong Election Committee is decried as a body packed with Communist-front patriots who believe anything they’re told and opportunistic shoe-shiners like property tycoons looking for handouts and free lunches at others’ expense. And with few ordinary citizens. Which indeed it is.

But what, then, is Iowa – especially primary-voting, caucus-enduring Iowa? An insignificant, mostly white state packed with Evangelicals who believe in a 6,000-year-old universe and farmers getting taxpayers’ subsidies for producing a crop that is converted into either an inefficient fossil fuel substitute or a synthetic sugar put in every foodstuff imaginable and which quite possibly screws up the human metabolism in such a way as to cause obesity.

Election Committee, Iowa… each has a disproportionate number of devout and unthinking followers of an outdated belief system and grasping parasites profiting by making everyone else’s lives worse. We can safely ignore both.

The difference, of course, is that the US’s search for its next leader will become more inclusive over time, with anyone free – in principle – to run, and everyone wielding one vote that they can cast as they please. In Hong Kong, the choice of Least-Repulsive among CY Leung, Anthony Leung, Regina Ip, or whoever lies not with the people, not even with an unrepresentative Committee of 1,200 boot-lickers, but with the Politburo in Beijing, compared with which Iowa, and most anywhere else you can think, of is a haven of humanity and decency.


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18 Responses to Hong Kong keeps ‘least representative election’ title

  1. Probably says:

    With regard to the US election Hilary is a shoe-in. Trump has either wittingly or unwittingly (due to his own ego) been convinced by his buddy Bill Clinton into standing and thereby dragging the Republican party so far right as to make them unelectable to the majority of sensible US citizens. This helps Hilary also insofar as she can occupy the centre ground and distance herself from Bernie Sanders (BTW is he a friend of Jezza wan Corbyno?).

  2. PD says:

    Perhaps RTP was right all the time? In the catastrophic years to come, we may easily look back on the early CY period as a golden age.

    The man, after all, has a certain toughness, whereas Yok-sing or King Arthur or whoever might just give up, like de Gaulle did in 1968.

  3. dimuendo says:


    Is there a majority of “sensible US citizens”?

    Any respect I may have had left (v little) went when they (re) elected George W in 2004

  4. Chris Maden says:

    Spot on, Hemlock

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    IOWA: Idiots Out Wandering Around

  6. Knownot says:

    For those of us interested in language: it’s ‘shoo-in’, not ‘shoe-in’.

    According to ‘A Dictionary of Modern American Usage’ by Bryan A. Garner, it is “a colloquialism deriving from the idea of ‘shooing’ something (as a pet)”.

    I think writers are mixing it up with another expression, ‘shoehorned in’.

  7. Sir Crispin Bentley-Smythe IV says:

    Ya’d think the GOP would have learned from the last election that pandering to a narrow demographic (Christian, white, extremely socially conservative, etc.) was not a wise move, and the strategists discussed being more inclusive of Hispanics and other non-WASPish groups. Yet, here they go again doing exactly the same as before. Rubio is also a shitty choice, given his driveling pander to the Christian Right.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  8. Stephen says:


    No RTP was not right. We shall look back on the early CY period as a time when it became crystal clear that Hong Kong’s time as a separate system will not reach 2047. CY couldn’t give a stuff because he’s a card carrying paid up member of the CCP and only the party’s divine right to rule is important. It’s death by a thousand cuts and when it’s my time to bleed …

  9. Probably says:

    @Stephen is correct. Basically, without a functioning system of accountability then all governance will be from within a small circle (even though they may have their own internal differences) who will be well insulated from social problems that they may ultimately will have caused. All we in HK and the PRC can hope for is a Gorbachev character within the CCP who realises how screwed up it all is. Unfortunately it does not appear to be Chairman Xi.

  10. Probably says:

    @Sir Crispin, that is precisely why Bill Clinton encouraged Trump to run, to clear the field for his wife.

  11. @Sir Crispin – Christian, white, extremely socially conservative people tend to vote for Christian, white, extremely socially conservative candidates with little apparent regard for how everyone else sees them. Indeed they regard it as a betrayal of their beliefs to vote for anyone who isn’t Christian, white (with the possible exception of Ben Carson), and extremely socially conservative.

    @Hemlock – to say “Ted Cruz gets votes from just 0.016% of the US population” is rather meaningless – the key statistic is what percentage of Iowans voted for him (still not too many, though.)

  12. Joe Blow says:

    If I was 689 and out of office, I would feel very uncomfortable being in Hong Kong.

  13. Red Dragon says:

    Joe Blow,

    I shouldn’t think Lufsig will stick around when the time comes for him to leave office.

    He’ll no doubt bugger off up north and sink into the sort of Pekingese obscurity that so befits that arch-patriot and darling of the “tourism” industry, Jacky Chan. And bloody good riddance, say I. Problem is that by that time, he and his ilk will have wrecked Hong Kong for good.

    Glad you spotted the “shoe-in” howler, Knownot. You beat me to it.

    Oh, and Hemmers. Please don’t “moderate” me out. I swear I’ll never mention the Sage of Stanley again. Promise.

  14. PD says:

    Thanks, Hemlock, for filtering out the trollish elements.

    Stephen, I don’t suppose you’ve ever been to a war zone or even a dysfunctional country? HK can be an unpleasant place sometimes, but it’s a haven of calm and security compared to what it’s going to become.

    Put Regina or your pin-up girl in charge and light the fuse…

  15. Off To Hawaii says:

    689 may love the party, but he’s not going to retire in Beijing, or anywhere in China. He has property in the USA, London, and probably in some island where neither the USA or the UK have extradition treaties, just in case.

  16. Sir Crispin Bentley-Smythe IV says:

    @ Old Newcomer, you missed the other part of my comment, as the party leaders had publicly stated in 2012 that having a narrow appeal “was not a wise move, and the strategists discussed being more inclusive” to expand the number of people who would vote for their (more broadly appealing) candidate.

  17. Chinese Netizen says:

    I think 689 will fit right in comfortably with Robert in Zim

  18. Big Al says:

    Mugabe backwards is “E ba gum”! Nowt wrong wi’ that, lad!

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