Hong Kong votes

Pamphlets from 11 of the 15 candidates/lists running for my constituency’s six Legislative Council seats in the election on Sunday…


The missing ones are: two eccentric independents who probably can’t afford publicity materials; the Communist-front Federation of Trade Unions, who are of limited appeal in my neighbourhood; and the once-mighty Democratic Party. Maybe the DP’s flyer ended up in the trash along with the pizza-delivery brochures, but it would be fittingly tragic if they had despaired and not bothered.

Other constituencies have even more seats and even more candidates. Here’s a complete list, and here’s a guide to the deliberately deranged voting system. For those in need of guidance or inspiration, there’s even a (debatable) selection of recommended candidates for each geographical constituency.

The voting system encourages a multitude of candidates, and the Communist Party’s United Front carefully coordinates pro-Beijing parties to maximize the number of seats won. So in Hong Kong Island – a haven of bourgeois decadence with few grimy public housing estates or Mainland immigrants – there is the DAB for the elderly/less-educated, the aforementioned FTU and Regina Ip’s more middle-class New People’s Party.

The hopelessly disorganized pan-democrats are fielding nine candidates/lists in the constituency. Even if the majority of electors back them, the pan-dems will probably splinter and cannibalize the vote and take only a minority of seats. Like the pro-Beijing camp, they could merge into three flavours: traditional-moderate, traditional-radical, and new-radical-localist. Instead, just the first of these segments have four candidate lists: the Democratic Party, the Civic Party, an ex-Civic Party independent, and the Labour Party (and we’re not counting an ultra-moderate Civic Party splinter). This is so dumb, they deserve to lose. (You could quibble about the categories – eg whether Labour is ‘traditional moderate’ – but that’s the point: they overlap across the spectrum.)

Some number-crunchers believe that the perverse voting structure will leave the composition of the Legislative Council much the same as before. But certainly the race itself is different this time round because of the rise of the localists, and the backlash against the Mainlandizing, Communist threat under CY Leung, the Liaison Office and Xi Jinping’s Beijing.

The traditional moderate and radical pro-democrat position is that the pan-dems must 7-7-11maintain their current share of the seats in order (for example) to veto another attempt at quasi-political reform or to continue being able to filibuster government initiatives. Essentially, they believe LegCo is still important, and it is still possible to counter Beijing’s creeping despotism through constitutional means. Indeed, they dream of spreading democracy throughout China.

The localists are more likely to see the rigged, powerless LegCo as yesterday’s thing – and they certainly don’t care about whether the Mainland has democracy. They are teenagers and 20-somethings, and divided into even more groups than the old moderate pan-dems, with varying degrees of squabbling and mutual affinity according to how much and how quickly they want Hong Kong to be an independent nation.

They have noticed that the traditional Martin Lee/Long Hair-style petitions and marching don’t work. They have experience of direct action over National Education, Occupy and even fighting the cops on the street in Mongkok. To some of them, the prospect of a Beijing-dominated LegCo ramming through Article 23 security laws against majority public opinion probably looks like a gift and a welcome invitation to greater defiance. Unlike the older generation, they want and know how to scare Beijing.

Compared with the past, this LegCo election has brought far more allegations of intimidation and cheating. And of course there’s the sloppy screening-out of pro-independence candidates to further reduce the integrity of the process. It’s possible the courts will order fresh elections, which would prompt some serious hitting-the-roof mouth-frothing from Chinese officials – with all that implies for local harmony and healing the divisions in our community.

It is probably best to see this election as an effect of what is happening rather than a cause. Watch the basic numbers: the turnout, the total percentage of the vote going to pan-dems, and the share of that going to localists.

I declare the weekend open resolved to add my contribution to that last number.


Yesterday’s heroes introduce tomorrow’s losers

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12 Responses to Hong Kong votes

  1. Property Developer says:

    Hemlock’s great strength is to show the big picture, to attempt to play the honnete homme, an everyman, trying, in the first instance, to survey the existing information and arguments, without fear or favour.

    Even if the courts didn’t order a redo of certain seats, the very bringing of such matters to their — inevitably ponderous — attention will surely cause much gnashing, frothing and other secretions.

    I must admit I don’t share CH’s — very informed– optimism (“yesterday”‘s post). Hemlock’s “backlash” against all the injustices must be considered an unknown known.

    What is clear is that: the polls don’t foresee a major increase in the opposition’s vote; vote splitting will favour the DAB and its cronies; and the weather will be bad, meaning a low turnout, again favouring the forces of darkness.

    Whether it matters very much is another question. But my instinct tells me to fight tooth and nail, even against all odds.

  2. reductio says:

    I’ve already seen an increase in dodgy-looking guys with dyed black perms and shades wandering around the village where I live. Probably there to tune up the minibuses to ensure maximum efficiency as they shuttle the Alzheimic from the elderly homes to the booths and back.

    “Such nice boys, and they gave me a meal.”

    “Yes, but who did you vote for?”

    “Hope for?”


    “Ooo, I can’t remember love. They showed me a picture. Nice looking boy. Heung Kuk somebody or other…Lovely day out.”

  3. LRE says:

    I’m going for either Civic Passion or Youngspiration myself.

    The hotdogs (Civic Passion) seem to piss off pretty much everyone, so I figure they may well be doing something right, but their major platform of tactically extending the basic law indefinitely maybe just a bit too wishy-washy for me in the end: the basic law is pretty much toothless seeing as it’s widely ignored (despite being highly touted) by the HK Government, the courts, the Liasions Dangereuses Office and Beijing, and is open to “interpretation” at short notice by the CPC. A few years ago I would have been more sold on the idea.

    So perhaps the Youngspiration/Demosisto chaps should have a go, as they have actually done more to make Hong Kong get interested in Democracy in the last two years and make people wake up to the fact it and freedom are disappearing at an alarming rate than 20 years of pan-dem prevarication.

    However, they do seem a lot less inspiring for the ordinary Hong Konger than the hot dogs, especially without the “appeal to authority” support of firey orator and glass-chucker Wong Yuk-Man. That said, it’s easy to underestimate the power of the weedy middle class student in China — the CPC started out as exactly that… which may bode both well and badly for Youngspiration/Demosisto.

  4. possession point says:

    I’m interested to hear whether anyone has strategic voting recommendations. Assuming I have zero preferences across the spectrum from moderate dems to localists and just want to ensure the greatest number of anti-establishment seats, who should I consider voting for?

    I’m on HK Island but feel free to suggest for any other jurisdictions.

  5. Peter says:

    @lre personally I don’t think the courts are ignoring the basic law for the most part. Can you provide an example? I do agree with everything else you say though. I am going to vote number 19 in nt east.

  6. Peter says:

    Also legco isn’t totally useless. Look at that Article 23 style copyright bill that was filibustered to death. The democrats make a good point about keeping their filibuster powers and the ability to veto constitutional amendments. But I think adding localists to the mix stand a good chance of winning, such as number 19, won’t affect that.

  7. PD says:

    In any case, five pan-dems have withdrawn, including Paul Zimmerman, in order not to split the vote.

  8. Joe Blow says:

    Let’s organize a massive protest action at the Oscars against Jacky Chan and tell the world what a piece of CCP-loving shit he really is.

  9. CH says:

    @possession point – what I would recommend:

    District Council FC – Democrat’s Roy Kwong (803), no contest.

    HK Island – Demosisto’s Nathan Law (8)’s moving up and will likely get the dropouts’ votes, but Democrat’s Ted Hui (13) has better get-out-the-vote infrastructure. Early vote for 8, late vote for 13 if they issue an appeal to voters.

    KL East – Civic Passion’s Wong Yeung-Tat (10), if you can stomach him.

    KL West – I reckon the polls overstate Lau Siu-lai (12)’s performance; conversely, they understate Civic Party’s Claudia Mo (3). Early vote for 12, late vote for 3 if she appeals.

    NT East – 6 pan-dems within 2% of threshold (5%), with pro-establishment targets at 5%, 7% and 8%. Getting out the vote here more important, as good pan-dem turnout will push enough people over. Otherwise, Neo-Dems’ Gary Fan (14) is making a strong push in the area, and Youngspiration’s Baggio Leung (19) will probably need help bolstering his support. Early vote 19, late vote to whoever appeals in this order: Gary Fan (14) > Long Hair (5) > Ray Chan (18) > Horace Chin (4) > Fernando Cheung (6).

    NT West – Like in KLW, Eddie Chu (20)’s support probably overstated. Medium-shot Lee Cheuk-yan (12) has potential – should either one of NWSC, LSD or ADPL cooperate, he will likely have enough votes, with the rising tide helping Civic’s Kwok Kar-ki (10) push out Junius Ho for last seat.

    Should probably declare my interest and say that I support Youngspiration and Civic Passion (not the easiest of positions to reconcile), but will probably vote for neither at the polls.

  10. dimuendo says:


    Thank you for your response yesterday.

    As to Nathan heard him rant tonight in C Bay and sppoke to Ted Hui who signlly failed to impress so no vote for either from me

    According to a Hui supporter for HK island those leading are DAB, Civic, Ricky Wong!, Regina!! and then fight between Nathan, FTU, Ted Hui and somebody else. Comments from anybody?

    PD Where is it reported/ confirmed Zimmerman has withdrawn? Who are the other withdrawals.

    What is position of Cy Ho, number 4?

  11. @dimuendo – see today’s SCMP.

  12. Cassowary says:

    A summary of the polls can be found here.

    Go for the marginal pan-dem/localist. Pick the yellow square with the lowest percentage, or else, the white square dem whose poll percentage is closest to the lowest-ranked red square.

    For the DC superseat, Kwong (DP) probably needs the most help.

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