Hong Kong Protests Force a Pro-Democracy Landslide in Local Elections
After months of protests and demonstrations, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement got a win.
Pro-democracy district council candidates were victorious in Hong Kong’s local elections, thanks to increased voter outcome amid months of violent protests in the city. Though they will mostly be focusing on neighborhood needs and community matters, their victory shows that the pro-democracy movement’s actions are turning into political wins.
Of the 452 elected district council seats, pro-democracy candidates won almost 90% during the Sunday elections — a massive increase from how many they had before. Meanwhile, Beijing allies walked away with only 58 seats. Before the elections, all 18 district councils were controlled by pro-Beijing parties.
The results were due to a record number of voters who showed up to the polls. Election authorities said that 71% of the 4.1 million registered voters cast their ballot. In the last district council elections four years ago, only 47% voted. Many were worried that violent unrest would prevent people from voting, but protesters largely avoided any demonstrations at the polls.
China has since responded to the landslide results, doubling down on their stance that Hong Kong will continue to be controlled by Beijing and warning against more violent demonstrations.
“No matter how the situation in Hong Kong changes, it is very clear that Hong Kong is a part of Chinese territory,” foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters at the G20 meeting in Tokyo. “Any attempts to disrupt Hong Kong or undermine its stability and prosperity will not succeed.”
The months-long protests for democracy have already become increasingly more violent. Last week, police confronted students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, claiming they were using the campus as a “weapon factory.” The conflict carried on for multiple days with police throwing tear gas and students setting fire to barricades. Similar conflicts have unfolded on other campuses.