HK election ‘improvements’ – the devil is not in the detail

In 2014, Hong Kong rejected a proposed ‘universal suffrage’ system because the CCP would have chosen who goes on the ballot for Chief Executive. In 2021, Beijing officially passes its ‘improvements’ to Hong Kong’s election system and assumes control of who goes on all ballots.

The attention-grabbing features are: a) all candidates will have to be pre-approved by a committee; and b) the proportion of Legislative Council seats elected by the public will be drastically reduced, while a new, much larger bloc of lawmakers, will (in effect) be appointed by Beijing.

The SCMP mentions that the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee will have an odd number of members in order to avoid any tied votes. What the story doesn’t say is that this idiotic detail is aimed at diverting your attention from what is actually happening: the committee – like the bodies whose candidates it vets – will be a rubber-stamp, taking orders from Beijing’s officials, via the NatSec shadow-government and the HK Police NatSec and Art Censorship Dept. (The committee will comprise senior government officials ‘trusted’ by Beijing. If the idea of a government and the cops vetting election candidates sounds weird, don’t worry – it’s all for show.)

The measure comes in the form of two annexes to the Basic Law, on Chief Executive and LegCo elections. A pithy sample from the latter…

The Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR shall, on the basis of the review by the department for safeguarding national security of the Police Force of the HKSAR, make findings as to whether a candidate for member of the Legislative Council meets the legal requirements and conditions of upholding the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swearing allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, and issue an opinion to the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee of the HKSAR in respect of a candidate who fails to meet such legal requirements and conditions.

In short, no pan-dems (give or take a stooge or two) will be allowed to run. However, the absurd overkill in the new framework – both vetting of candidates and addition of a large number of appointed LegCo seats – indicates that the idea is also to threaten pro-Beijing figures with vetting, and in any case to dilute their numbers in the legislature. This is essentially Beijing shoving everyone aside and taking full control over the legislature, thus rendering it a pure rubber stamp (as it has with the Executive branch).

Not content with the headline ‘improvements’, Beijing is also reducing the role of human voters in some functional constituencies by boosting the presence of corporate votes (though FC candidates will also be vetted), and replacing district council members on the CE Election Committee with appointees (in the guise of district fight-crime and other boards). Geeks will be fascinated to hear that the LegCo elections will use the ‘binomial’ voting system, but the rest of us can ignore it. (OK – if you must.)

The details of all this are tedious – but to repeat: that is deliberate. The idea is to make it look like there is a real process at work when in fact, behind the scenes, all outcomes are decided in advance by Beijing’s officials. Elections in Hong Kong are now, finally, so painstakingly rigged that they might as well not happen.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to HK election ‘improvements’ – the devil is not in the detail

  1. Reactor #4 says:

    Well, you lot only have yourselves to blame. I was under the impression that Chinese people are pretty smart. However, it appears not be the case for those idealogues who gather under the democracy umbrella. A basic evaluation of the likely response and outcome to the path that was planned would have resulted in them predicting the situation we find ourselves in today, or something very similar. It’s both sad AND
    amusing – watching idiots face the consequences of their actions never gets tiring.

  2. Mark Bradley says:

    So what’s the next move for pan democrats? Beijing won’t care if the elections are boycott and the voter turnout is 10%. As long as the right people are voted in they’re fine with it. They don’t care how many people actually go out and vote for local Municipal People’s Congresses in PRC either and likewise nomination there is rigged too.

    And let’s say they do throw a fit over low voter turnout and rubber stamp mandatory voting, which I doubt they’ll bother with but let’s say they do. Then what? Spoilt ballots? They won’t care. They simply won’t report spoiled ballots at all.

  3. where's my jet plane says:

    In the increasingly unlikely event that, as non-Chinese, I may be allowed to vote, I intend merely to write SHAM on the ballot paper.

    What’s the probability that another devil not yet in the detail that to be allowed to be on the voters’ register one must be cleared by the HKP Insecurity and Art Criticism department and approved by the Election Committee?

  4. Toph says:

    @Mark Bradley – have you somehow not noticed that every major democrat is in jail? That is what will happen to the rest of them if they make any kind of move at all. You’re still thinking this is tennis when it is a monster truck rally.

  5. Chris Maden says:

    @ Reactor #4: You only post here to try and get a rise. Tiresome.

  6. Chinese Netizen says:

    And if people show they’re not satisfied with the way the CCPSAR is headed, after low poll turnout, the logic will be to blame the citizens because they didn’t participate in the “elections” in droves.

    *Don’t feed the troll

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    @Toph

    “have you somehow not noticed that every major democrat is in jail? That is what will happen to the rest of them if they make any kind of move at all. You’re still thinking this is tennis when it is a monster truck rally.”

    I do realize that. And indeed I incorrectly stated “pan democrats” in my original comment when who I was really referring to was “pan democratic voters” who regularly vote in pan democrats. These voters are not in jail and they certainly feel discontent over these “electoral improvements”. I hope that clarifies my comment

  8. Mjrelje says:

    I shall be practicing my spitting bell end drawing so that no matter where the lead DAB candidate is positioned on the ballot paper, the jizz depletes will cover his/her name.

  9. YTSL says:

    So an already unfair system has been made more unfair. Under such circumstances, it’s truly amazing that people still care about political matters in Hong Kong and have sought to make it a better place.

  10. Paul says:

    One thing that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned is that corporate votes in FCs are still placed by a named individual on an allegedly secret ballot. It is purely a matter of trust that the appointed vote does actually vote as directed by the decision of the corporate entity. I know because I have been such a corporate voter.

    It seems inconceivable to me that the Commies haven’t noticed this; I’m sure they will put something in place to avoid any “surprises” in the FCs (vetting of people acting as corporate voters perhaps?).

  11. Justsayin says:

    The next step will be to start diluting the population with ‘patriotic, right-thinking voters’ and making a ‘win win voting app promoting patriotic thinking’ to tell them whom to vote for and then voila we’ll have high turnouts voting for the CCP. Is this not obvious?

  12. Din Dan Che says:

    This is what Beijing had in store for HK all along, whether 2014 or ’19 had happened or not

  13. Paul Lewis says:

    If I refuse to vote, and tell people my reasons, and suggest they should do the same, could I be prosecuted under the National Security Law?
    I seem to remember in some past election when there was an invalid or unclear vote, the ballot paper was held up for the public to see, so as to prove that a valid vote was not being discarded.
    Will that happen if people write some sort of comment on the ballot?
    Probably not, but it would be fun.

  14. reductio says:

    @Din Dan Che

    Yup, would have been death by a thousand cuts rather than the beheading we are witnessing, but 1C2S was always an affront to the CCCP which they now feel strong enough to dispense with. Don’t know why they don’t go the whole hog and appoint a governor.

  15. Mark Bradley says:

    “Yup, would have been death by a thousand cuts rather than the beheading we are witnessing, but 1C2S was always an affront to the CCCP which they now feel strong enough to dispense with. Don’t know why they don’t go the whole hog and appoint a governor.”

    I certainly don’t disagree with you, but let’s talk about that hypothetical situation:

    How would have they done it if HK meekly accepted the CE fake universal suffrage package in 2017, pocketed it first, and didn’t protest?

    Introduce the vetting committee nomination threshold as an additional barrier for nomination for all lawmakers when the “full universal suffrage for all legco seats” package was introduced post 2017?

  16. Penny says:

    The contents of “Document No.9” revealed in 2013 spelt out the future for HK, regardless of the events of 2014 and 2019:
    “Communist Party cadres have filled meeting halls around China to hear a somber, secretive warning issued by senior leaders. Power could escape their grip, they have been told, unless the party eradicates seven subversive currents coursing through Chinese society.”
    “These seven perils were enumerated in a memo, referred to as Document No. 9, that bears the unmistakable imprimatur of Xi Jinping, China’s new top leader. The first was “Western constitutional democracy”; others included promoting “u niversal values” of human rights, Western-inspired notions of media independence and civic participation, ardently pro-market “neo-liberalism,” and “nihilist” criticisms of the party’s traumatic past.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/world/asia/chinas-new-leadership-takes-hard-line-in-secret-memo.html

  17. Toph says:

    @Mark Bradley: Thanks for the clarification. I imagine if ordinary voters so much as began a Facebook campaign to go hiking on election day, they would provoke the police into absurd overreaction and we would see cops all over the Maclehose trail before we could blink.

    I think we should begin a new tradition. On election day, everyone should perform an act of community service. Go donate blood. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Visit a nursing home. Give to a food bank. Pick up trash on the beach. Anything to bring more good to Hong Kong than voting in a meaningless election. We do not have to participate in their narrative.

    And it’s a pleasure to imagine them instructing their propaganda arm to explain why feeding homeless people is subversive.

  18. Reductio says:

    @Mark Bradley

    Sorry, bit late to be responding. I’ve thought about that and I’m not sure. I can only quote from perhaps the greatest British gangster film ever: “Where there’s a will, and there is a fucking will, there’s a way. And there is a fucking way.”

  19. Mary Melville says:

    That the CE can state that the elected district councils with 117 seats previously were mere advisory bodies and therefore cannot be part of the Election Committee, and then revealing that “156 people appointed by the director of home affairs to advise on district affairs joining it. They are representatives of area committees, which encourage public participation in district affairs and help organize community activities, and district fight-crime committees, which make recommendations to reduce and prevent crime, as wells as district fire-safety committees, which educate the public on fire safety” are eligible with a straight face says it all.
    Apart from the fact that nobody in the district except the appointed members is aware of the existence of these committees, they have obviously not being doing much as Yau Tsim Mong is a hot bed of crime and there have been numerous fatal fires in the district that could have been prevented. I did spot the names of some loyal rubbish DCs who were ousted in 2019 on the rolls and some serial ADVISORY BOARD members.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *