What to call an election that’s not an election?

Do you really want to go there, Erick? Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Tsang says last December’s 30% turnout in the patriots-only legislative elections was not low, compared with New York state and French regional polls. As for the more obvious comparison – the over-70% turnout and eradication of pro-Beijing candidates in district elections in 2019 – he opines…

“When we look at the so-called higher voter turnout previously, we shouldn’t forget that it was when society was the most divided and experiencing its darkest time with violence raging across the city, and many anti-China disruptors had attempted to enter the legislature, or even the establishment.”

Is a (‘so-called’) high turnout the cause or effect of a ‘darkest time’? 

‘Fast Beat’ Tam Tak-chi gets 40 months in jail for ‘seditious words’. As with prosecuting suggestions of election boycotts, this is plain criminalization of opinion. John Lee meanwhile complains that YouTube has taken down his channel. Pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow waffles

“The move involves foreign forces blatantly interfering with Hong Kong’s election. I am strongly condemning the social media platform which completely turned a blind eye to the importance of a fair and just election.”

Which brings us to the HKFP Editor-in-Chief on how impartial news media should describe the quasi-election.

If it is editorializing to describe the process as a sham, isn’t it equally editorializing to adopt the government’s phraseology, at least without quote marks? But isn’t it in fact entirely objective and accurate to call the process a sham? The evidence being a century of Leninist practice: the CCP core by definition does not allow other people, even a ‘small circle’, to choose senior state office-holders; thus a process like John Lee’s appointment cannot logically be a genuine election – even if there were more than one ‘candidate’.

I think if I were trying to have journalistic integrity (God forbid) and if brevity were not an issue, I would take the same approach as the European Union’s tedious authentic foodstuffs labeling requirements and call this an ‘imitation election-type exercise that contains no democratic ingredients’.

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14 Responses to What to call an election that’s not an election?

  1. Stanley Lieber says:

    On 9 April Mr. Lee announced his acceptance of his appointment by the CCP to become the next chief executive. The appointment is expected to be confirmed publicly on 8 May.

    That is the entire story.

    Unless something unexpected occurs, whatever kabuki theatre goes on between now and 8 May isn’t news and doesn’t deserve any coverage at all.

    Goings-on in the hamster community are a more newsworthy item.

  2. Chef Wonton says:

    “Endorsement” ?

    as in: “Observers wonder if Hong Kong endorsement of Beijing’s appointment will be unanimous or partial”.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Lee’s “campaign” office said: “The termination reflects the flagrant hegemonic tactics employed by the U.S. government. Imposing the so-called sanction on Mr. Lee so as to intimidate him will not in any way affect his strong determination to continue to safeguard national security,” it said in a statement.”

    So-called.

  4. OneHorseJohnny says:

    Grundy says: “And it may be “pre-determined,” but unless anyone has solid proof, we avoid that term too.”

    So…if a single “candidate” is “suggested to run” by a higher source and then immediately resigns his position so that he can be anointed “candidate” with absolutely NO other “competitor” entered in the “race”, that’s still NOT “pre-determined”???

    After reading Grundy’s Twatter explanation of how they’ll be covering the “election” and his almost *sighing* tone in writing, I feel he’s trying to do his best Cover Your Ass As To Not Run Afoul Of NatSec dance. Not enviable.

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    “The evidence being a century of Leninist practice: the CCP core by definition does not allow other people, even a ‘small circle’, to choose senior state office-holders; thus a process like John Lee’s appointment cannot logically be a genuine election ”

    True though back in 2012 we had almost a genuine small circle Election Committee election for CE when it was CY vs Henry Tang. I recall that you even predicted the outcome of the election wrong.

    Back then it seemed like a step in the right direction but clearly CCP didn’t like the surprise as the 2017 election was completely rigged (though multiple candidates were stukk allowed to stand) and the John Lee selection even more so.

  6. Chris Maden says:

    *Sigh*

    I guess Tom is doing his best to cover this exercise in futility as if it’s a real election involving candidates who have been through hustings (which happened, but 47 are in jail for doing so), affiliations with political parties (ditto), putting forwards manifestos (http://www.slp.org/pdf/marx/comm_man.pdf, I suppose, though Hong Kong’s situation has moved on since 1847), debates and canvassing leading to the big day, with all the excitement, arguments with friends and general pub talk that tend to follow in that process’s wake.

    But if it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s a duck.

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    “True though back in 2012 we had almost a genuine small circle Election Committee election for CE when it was CY vs Henry Tang. I recall that you even predicted the outcome of the election wrong.”

    I should also add that it’s not like most of the 2012 Election Committee members could freely vote without checking in with Beijing first. It’s more like the Hu Jintao era central government cared more about public opinion regarding the CE candidates and as a result the massive amount of bad PR that was dug up by CY against Henry Tang was enough for Beijing to change their mind about backing Tang.

    It was the closest thing we had to a real election for CE as it had plenty of mud slinging and wasn’t just kabuki theater.

  8. John Lee Hooker says:

    Perhaps Grundy should take a leaf out of the CCP playbook: “the so-called election of the so-called candidate”?

    Or just make up some new words or phrases: “demockractic”, “the thin-veneer election”, the scamdidate has yet to release his shampaign manifesto”, “with only 1,454 fauxters, the micro-election is broadly unrepresentative”.

    And there’s always the supremely apt suffix “ersatz” which is descriptive, truthful and has just about enough plausible deniability to keep you out of jail: “a replacement or substitute, typically an inferior one, for something else.”

    Perhaps all it really needs is the suffix: “undemocratic”. It’s technically and legally correct — any “small-circle” election of a leader is by definition undemocratic, as it deliberately doesn’t include all the “demos” (people) in the “kratos” (rule).

  9. A Poor Man says:

    Isn’t Youtube blocked in the Mainland?

  10. The Pikachurian Candidate says:

    Re Holden Chow’s froth: how is banning all the CE candidates up for “election” from using youtube interfering or being unfair?

  11. justsayin says:

    youtube is blocked on the mainland except for those with firewalls or those who run CCP propaganda channels.

  12. Mary Melville says:

    Why do they bother with You Tube in the first place when the target audience is patriots who would never dream of logging onto any media that could be corrupted by Western bourgeois values?

  13. Joe Blow says:

    “Tycoon” Al Zeman (who keeps begging the Government for hand-outs so that his tenants can pay their rents) is a member of John Lee’s presidium (or whatever).

    If you need yet another reason to boycott Lan Kwai Fong, this is it.

    BOYCOTT LAN KWAI FONG

  14. Toph says:

    Don’t boycott Lan Kwai Fong, be a person who wouldn’t think to go there in the first place. You should no more have to refrain from patronizing tacky overpriced bars than you should refrain from buying buckets of horse dewormer to cure the ‘rona.

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