At the behest of the authorities, a Hong Kong court issues arrest warrants for former legislator Ted Hui and former district councillor Yau Man-chun – both now overseas. Their alleged crime: calling for a boycott or the casting of invalid votes in the forthcoming quasi-election. While now illegal under recent hasty revisions to the elections laws, urging people not to vote is perfectly acceptable in any free or democratic country, so the warrants are an absurd and embarrassing gesture. HKFP story here. Official announcement from the ICAC (pursuing those who encourage non-voting is apparently a job for the anti-graft agency) here.
Ming Pao quotes (in Chinese) a pro-Beijing businessman as saying that a low turnout in the quasi-election will be the result of foreign forces attempting to put citizens off voting. (The same foreign forces that got two million people on the Hong Kong streets in 2019, presumably.)
A China Daily op-ed accuses pollsters PORI of breaking the law and inciting people not to vote – by asking whether they plan to boycott the election…
The common objective of public opinion surveys on elections all over the world is to rate the popularity of the election candidates. But for the HKPORI, as explained in their press conference, it’s clearly more interested in registering the number of respondents who would cast blank votes. As this is clearly irrelevant to the primary objective of election surveys, there is undoubtedly an ulterior motive behind this exercise…
…by conducting the survey to ascertain the number of respondents prepared to cast blank votes and disseminating the results of the survey, it likely constitutes a prima facie case of incitement…
…The HKPORI would be wise to stop their public opinion survey on the election or it may face the same consequences as those of their associates now languishing in jail.
As the above three stories suggest, the government is frantically trying to draw attention to the fact that It’s Really Worried About A Low Turnout On December 19. You’d almost think it’s a very clever subliminal campaign to convince the public to boycott the exercise. Essentially every official and every CCP shoe-shiner is now running around shrieking:
You really really must go and vote in this election even though the results have been decided ahead of time! The unelected regime will look bad if you don’t turn up at the polling station on December 19! If there is a low turnout it will make the CCP unhappy and sad! If you admire and wish to endorse this regime and this system, please please please turn up and vote!!!!
Obviously, the key players here are more interested in appearing (to distant superiors) to be anti-boycott than in actually persuading the public to take part. For example, does the former ICAC guy writing in China Daily really believe what he says?
While you are duly noting and considering this heart-rending appeal, I will do my best to help. Do not follow reports of the courts ordering pan-dem politicians accused of a ‘vicious plot’ to subvert the government – holding primary elections – to be kept in jail without bail for 12 months by the time their trial begins. Here’s another. And on no account read Bitter Winter’s All Elections in Hong Kong Are Now Meaningless.
Some mid-week links…
A thread on the CCP-supporting leadership at the WHO.
Another on an (alleged) first-ever leak of ‘Top Secret’ comments by a Chinese supreme leader on Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang.
The Spectator’s contribution to the Peng Shuai saga, focusing on the concubinage angle. Perhaps the funniest item so far on the poor PR skills displayed by CCP media in the Peng affair is this – in Russian state media by a Beijing-worshiping Westerner. CGTN has banned him for his candid analysis.