One of Hong Kong’s most depressingly morose-looking pan-democrats, Lee Cheuk-yan, loses to pro-Beijing groomed stooge Rebecca Chan in a Legislative Council by-election. He would have lost even with the votes that went to aging moderate spoiler-candidate pan-dem Frederick Fung.
The weather was nasty, turnout was low, and the pro-Beijing candidate had material and organizational support from the Communist Party’s local United Front operations. But essentially what happened is that voters chose the wrong candidate last time (in 2016) when they elected radical pro-dem Lau Siu-lai, who the government subsequently expelled from the legislature using special new CCP-imposed laws on oath-taking. Now citizens have chosen the ‘correct’ candidate; Beijing can support the democratic outcome.
Distraught pan-dems warn that their bloc will not regain its veto power in the legislature. That’s the whole idea – what part of ‘Communist dictatorship’ don’t you understand? Under Mainlandization, Hong Kong’s already-feeble representative political structures are destined to become purely ceremonial. At best, taking them seriously will be a distraction that absorbs the opposition’s energy and ultimately humiliates them. At worst, it will help legitimize the Beijing-appointed executive’s bad or repressive policies.
At some stage the pan-dems need to get over their obsession with rigged elections and a Mainland-style rubber-stamp legislature, and boycott the whole farce.
One objection to this is that they are too disorganized to act in unison. Another is that they need the generous Legislative Council salaries and allowances. It might come down to voters staying at home.