Hong Kong: A costly victory

After years of dominating both the Legislative and District Council, the Pro-Establishment faction finally faced their first defeat, losing 240 seats out of 452 in the latest District Council Election, leaving them with merely 59 seats (so far). Meanwhile, the Pan-Democratic faction obtained a total of 388 seats (so far), securing 117 votes out of 1200 in the next Chief Executive Election. This seemingly decisive victory, however, was not at all easy. In fact, if it wasn’t the protestors’ proactive effort to encourage citizens to register to be voters and vote, the result would have been very different.

         Excuse the boring statistics, but while 1.67 million votes went to Pan-Dem, accounting for ~57% of all votes, Pro-Est still received a solid 1.2 million (~41%). And this year, not only did we have 0.44 million new voters in comparison to 2015, but we also had the highest voting rate, an incredible 71%. On the contrary, in the 2015 District Council Election, only 1.47 million voters (47.1%) actually voted. This left Pan-Dem with 0.54 million votes (37.5%) and Pro-Est with 0.78 million (54.2%). While this additional 1.13 million votes for the Pan-Dem between the two elections could obviously be attributed to the 6 months of protest, it doesn’t mean Pan-Dem was the perfect party the people wanted. Moreover, let’s not ignore the fact that Pro-Est did get 0.42 million more votes this year than in 2015.

         Within the protestors, there are two major types, the peaceful ones and the radical ones. And although we’ve been emphasising to not segregate among ourselves, segregation does occur between these two groups. And as a political party, it is commonsensical that Pan-Dem (especially the Democratic Party) is on the peaceful side all the way. This stirred up numerous conflicts, as one can imagine, that when the radical protestors adopted relatively violent means to stall the well-armed police, or to assault police supporters and mobsters who were picking a fight, Pan-Dem members would segregate themselves from them.

         To myself, and I believe to fellow readers as well, resolving problems via violence in the modern civilised world is surely undesirable, but is it truly unacceptable for those who’ve been oppressed violently to fight back? For instance, we would condemn the bully for violently treating the bullied, but if the bullied picked himself up and gave the bully a hook punch, we wouldn’t say “you could have just asked him to stop”, right? And back to Hong Kong protestors’ context, we actually tried countless times to “ask him to stop” (e.g. via a peaceful 2 million people rally), it’s just the government preferred answering with bullets, batons, and teargas. Simply put, if peaceful means work, we wouldn’t still be protesting now.

Yet despite Pan-Dem’s segregation from some of us, the protestors still voted for them, for a very simple reason. In an election, it would be disadvantageous if votes from the same side were divided, so we’d rather vote for Pan-Dem, who is more-or-less on our side, than voting for our mortal enemy.

Nevertheless, this year’s District Council Election result is an important victory in our war against the oppressive government and the abusive police force. However, this is far from complete restoration of the rule of law, freedom, democracy and human rights in Hong Kong. This long-overdue small victory also came with an unbearable price, including over 4,000 protestors being arrested, numerous deaths, thousands of injuries, and decades long of health hazard due to the residue (dioxin, that can cause infertility, cancer and abnormal infantile development) from the 10,000 teargas cannisters fired. And at this point, there are still tens of protestors trapped inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University by the police. It’s been 9 days and the situation’s worsening to the point where they ran out of food, the kitchen is filled with flies and maggots, and some of them even attempted suicide.  Again, facing such an inhumane police force and a shameless government, could you really blame the protestors for using violent means?

Written by Anonymous

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