News / Asia

    Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Camp Takes Narrow Lead in Election

    Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    x
    Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    Electoral officers count ballots at the central ballot counting station after legislative elections in Hong Kong, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement has taken a narrow lead in a legislative council election that represents a major test for the autonomous Chinese territory's new pro-Beijing government. 
     
    Official results released early Monday show pro-democracy candidates won 18 of the 35 legislative seats directly elected by voters in Hong Kong's geographical constituencies. Sixteen of the remaining seats went to pro-Beijing and pro-business candidates allied to Hong Kong's government, and one went to an independent.

    Turnout in the geographic constituencies was 53 percent, or 1.8 million voters, up sharply from 45 percent in the last election in 2008.
     
    Re-elected pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan described the results as "very disappointing." Pro-democracy candidates competed for seats in multiple party lists that reflected divisions within the movement, resulting in a splitting of pro-democracy votes that helped pro-establishment candidates to win.
     
    Speaking to a local radio station Monday, Lee said the pro-democracy movement saw an improvement in its total share of the vote. But, he said the pro-establishment movement had a more effective strategy to attract voters to its various party lists and "distribute" votes among its candidates.
     
    Analysts had expected a strong showing for the pro-democracy camp after it led a series of mass protests against the government of Leung Chun-ying, who took office in July. The protests drew on public anger toward Leung's handling of several issues, including a government proposal to require schools to teach Chinese patriotism classes within the next few years.
     
    Many protesters criticized the classes as an attempt to brainwash children into supporting China's ruling Communist Party - an allegation the government denied. Leung backed down on Saturday, a day before the election, saying the patriotism classes would no longer be compulsory for local schools.
     
    The strong showing by pro-establishment lawmakers in the partial election results may ease some of the pressure on Leung. He also has faced growing public discontent with an influx of mainland Chinese residents and visitors who have put strains on Hong Kong's hospitals and driven up property prices.
     
    Under a new system introduced for Sunday's election, all Hong Kong voters were able to cast a second ballot to fill the other half of the legislature's 70 seats. Vote counting was still under way early Monday for those seats, known as "functional constituencies."
     
    The vast majority of voters cast their second ballots to fill five legislative seats in a single, territory-wide constituency. A small minority of voters belonging to community and professional groups cast their second ballots to fill the legislature's remaining 30 seats. Most candidates representing those groups tend to be pro-government.
     
    Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 under an agreement making it a semi-autonomous territory with much broader rights and freedoms than in mainland China. Beijing also has promised to allow Hong Kong to become a full democracy, with residents directly-electing their leader in 2017 and all of their lawmakers in 2020.
     
    But, pro-democracy lawmakers fear Beijing will pressure Hong Kong into adopting a 2017 election system that excludes chief executive candidates deemed anti-Communist or unpatriotic by Chinese leaders.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.