Hong Kong’s referendum

Blam. Who would ever have thought District Council elections could be so interesting?A few thoughts…

The big turnout (over 70% to elect mainly powerless bodies) must reflect both public anger against the government and additional effort by the Liaison Office/United Front forces to get loyal/persuadable voters out.

Actual breakdown of the vote behind the landslide outcome in DC seats looks to be around 60-to-40 pan-dem-to-pro-government (broadly in line with Legislative Council elections in the past). Pro-Beijing voices will try to convince/console themselves that this is a partial rather than unanimous kick in the teeth. (It would be interesting to know how many people didn’t vote because of huge lines outside polling stations.)

Some serious scumbags (see Tweets below) got a good thrashing.

We don’t have a breakdown of voting patterns by age group, but we do know the number of new and younger voters registering in the last year went up quite a lot. The role of teens and 20-somethings in protest activities suggests that not many of this age group are big fans of the CCP. Their first experience of voting will have been memorable.

Fortunately, a few pro-Beijing folk have won seats on councils. I say fortunately, because the experience of being heavily outnumbered by true representatives of the community will be instructive for them. (It is possible that the bodies will pay more attention to residents and less to cronyism – you never know.)

We will hear a lot about how District Council members have votes in the Chief Executive ‘Election Committee’, and how this could influence the 2021 CE ‘election’. (Example here.) This is rubbish: despite the apparent complexity of the structure, the Committee is designed in such a way that it can produce only the result pre-ordained by Beijing (essentially through an inbuilt majority). The parts of the body that Beijing cannot totally and certainly control (including the democratically elected members) are in practice just there for show. The CCP does not leave these things to chance.

It’s unlikely that this will increase the CCP’s fondness for democracy. Don’t be surprised if a few shoe-shiners tut-tut about how Beijing has ‘lost trust’ in Hong Kong people as a result of yesterday.

Obvious question: can Beijing and its local proxies Carrie Lam et al seriously just sit there, blather inanities, and do nothing after this?

Obvious answer: yup.

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23 Responses to Hong Kong’s referendum

  1. Reactor #4 says:

    Hard data cannot be ignored. It pains me to say this, but well done you pesky demo lovers. Well done. With a bit of luck you’ll now stop using violence and bullying to make your case. Actually, historians of the future may view today as being the first step on a journey to HK having democratically elected incompetents 4cking things up rather than appointed ones.

  2. PaperCuts says:

    The silent majority remain silent

  3. Blusterbuster says:

    No sweat for HKSARG. They’ll simply make the new councilors swear on an oath, and then fail them all, imprisoning 75% in the process.

  4. Radio GooGoo says:

    RTHK Backchat, featuring re-elected councillor Paul Zimmerman, is well worth listening to on podcast if you missed it:


  5. Popular Corn says:

    No comment about the election from the “government” and the CCP yet?

    Must mean they didn’t prepare for a loss.

    Which must mean the policymakers genuinely believed their own lies. Or maybe they are genuinely uninformed.

    Either way this result makes them look like fools and incompetents.

    They won’t like that.

    But then again maybe they are getting used to it.

  6. Henry says:

    @ plutonium fake
    Cause and effect, old chum. More/less/no protests will depend on the reaction of the authorities to the result. And the result was more influenced by the violence inflicted by the authorities than it needed to be. Anyway, I’m not holding my breath.

  7. old git says:

    “The HKSAR Government respects the election results. There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and 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. The HKSAR Government will listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect.”

    No plan, in other words.

  8. Cassowary says:

    Before Beijing figures out how to retaliate, take a couple of minutes to imagine the amount of grovelling that must be going on in Government House today. We’ve got to find our joy wherever we can these days.

    @Popular Corn: HK01 and James Palmer of Foreign Policy are reporting that Beijing was indeed blindsided. They’d been snorting their own propaganda.

  9. Des Espoir says:

    We may of course end up with a Burmese-style election… where the incumbents just sit there and say ”so you won an election……so….?

  10. Stephen says:

    The discussion in Beijing will be what if a similar result happens next autumn in the Legislative Council elections and thus what can we do to ensure it doesn’t ? I think, their actions will be guided by what’s the minimum we can get away with to stop the violence flaring up again.
    Expect Lam out and a new CE announcing an inquiry of sorts. Obviously they can’t prosecute +4000 people, so there’s a partial amnesty. It’s the Universal Suffrage that I cannot see the CCP moving on as it means losing control.

  11. A Poor Man says:

    Maybe the best result of the night was Vag Yip’s New People’s Party going 0-28.

  12. dimuendo says:

    A Poor Man

    Plus Odious losing another source of his “legitimacy”.

    Worst thing . Eddie Chui not being elected.

  13. pie-chucker says:

    Presuming no serious response from Govt by Wednesday, plan for mass peaceful demonstrations at the weekend. No black gear, no masks, no umbrellas. Wind it back to early June.

    Tell front-line ‘braves’ to knock it off. No violence. Make it a street party celebrating the extraordinary results at the ballot box yesterday. The robocops would look daft confronting a million march of no violent intent.

  14. Joe Blow says:

    Mrs Ip Lau Suk-yee got chased out of Central today by a crowd of office workers who called her ‘traitor to Hong Kong’. For me that was the cherry on top of the cream cake.

  15. Reactor #4 says:

    It’s not impossible that Bob Geldof will soon descend upon Hong Kong and thrust upon us a lightly re-worked version of “Don’t they know it’s Christmas”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjQzJAKxTrE

    I cannot wait to see the grimace upon Monsieur Hemlock’s face.

  16. Stanley Lieber says:

    @pie chucker Good idea and I hope you’re right.

    Perhaps the Lam administration (or its masters) might reflect on the fact that every swing of a police baton generated another vote for their opponents.

  17. Guest says:


    A certain reader is dining on crow with a slice of humble pie after announcing so confidently on Friday that the Pan Dems would go down in defeat.

  18. Flush with victory says:

    Attention: United Front Works Dept.
    That flushing sound you hear is the last 30 years of your plans and efforts going down the drain.
    Please report to your nearest extermination re-education camp immediately.

  19. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    For me, it is extremely gratifying to see how many news outlets around the globe are publishing the leaked documents related to the detention camps in the Xinjiang region. Also, with the Australians apparently being handed classified information by a defector, Chinese espionage activities are making headlines and creating blowback (and a few quick arrests in Taiwan).

    Combined with the results of this District Council election, and I am all smiles.

    I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet! Junius Ho Ho Ho!

    Next up: the Taiwanese Presidential election, Saturday, 11th of January, 2020.

  20. Reactor is right, as always. Well done. A cynical and manipulative ruse, but it worked.

    Most intriguing is Wang Yi’s comment today, 如何变化. Does that mean anything goes? Sint ut sunt aut non sint?

  21. Placated Observer says:

    Pleased to see Hemlock’s readership still head and shoulders above that found elsewhere, with our own Reactor #4 at least having the good grace to acknowledge hard data.

    Not holding my breath, but maybe the political class responds appropriately for a change, and then we all get our wish for a peaceful Christmas. That would be quite a treat.

  22. Mark Bradley says:

    “It’s the Universal Suffrage that I cannot see the CCP moving on as it means losing control.”

    Well these dummies shouldn’t have listed universal suffrage as the “ultimate aim” then. I remember in 2014 there were hints from Beijing loyalists that if we swallowed the restrictive framework for Chief Executive, that the universal suffrage framework for a fully directly elected Legco may be more relaxed and open.

    If the yellow camp can take control of Legco similar to how the solidarity movement took control of the Contract Sejm in Poland on June 4th 1989, then it will be time to compel Beijing to bargain and allowing full universal suffrage in Legco, even if it is a deal similar to the 1995 Legco election.

    I think taking control of the Legco is feasible. In Poland the Communists had an inbuilt majority where they were guaranteed 65% of the seats (split between the Polish Communist Party and their satellite parties) while the rest were directly elected. The Poles voted for solidarity and the satellite parties betrayed the communists and formed a government with solidarity. Although in Legco we won’t be able to form a government, I believe having a simple majority in Legco is possible as long as everyone in the yellow camp is disciplined. The pan democrats and the protesters seemed to be very disciplined in the District Council election.

    For the CE election we can figure it out later at a future after the Legco is fully democratic. Beijing still would have total control of the executive while the Legco serves as a check so we never have something like the extradition bill again.

  23. pepepopo says:

    Even Reactor #4 is conceiding defeat – feels a little like a false victory. Like the Popo was one step away from mutiny if they wouldn’t have gotten these couple of calm days, or something along these lines…

    This could just as well be the last happy day of HK for a long time.

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