Voters In Hong Kong Turnout In Historic Numbers, Deliver Devastating Results 

reports: Voters in Hong Kong took the polls in record numbers on Sunday, giving pro-democracy parties stunning gains as numerous high-profile pro-Beijing officials lost their seats.

“Almost three million voters sent the Carrie Lam administration an unmistakable message on Sunday, flooding to the ballot box in record numbers to vote against pro-establishment candidates and usher in what by all indications should be a staggering victory for the pro-democracy camp,” Public broadcaster RTHK reported. “While official results are yet to be announced, partial counts suggest that opposition candidates should win an overwhelming majority of the 452 District Council seats up for grabs, and may have a winning ratio of as high as nine-to-one.”

RTHK added, “Most analysts had expected the opposition to make significant gains with the government’s popularity ratings at an all-time low, but no one was predicting that the pro-democracy camp would win a majority of seats – much less almost all of them.”

[Read the full story here at The Daily Wire]

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that pro-democracy candidates had won 395 of the 452 seats that were up for grabs and that pro-democracy parties were set to control all 18 district councils.

“Almost 3 million people in a city of 7 million queued to vote in the election held every four years, or 71.2 per cent of registered voters,” The Sydney Morning Herald added. “The voter turnout was almost double that seen in the previous election, and attributed to young people voting for the first time.” CNN reported that “outspoken pro-government legislators Michael Tien and Junius Ho both conceded defeat in their districts” and “Holden Chow, Horace Cheung, Vincent Cheng, and Edward Lau also appeared to be part of a string of upsets from the pro-Beijing DAB party.”

U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted support for Hong Kong, writing, “With their vote, the people of Hong Kong delivered a strong rebuke of the authoritarian policies of Beijing. They came out in record numbers, nearly double the last election, to support pro-democracy candidates. When people have a choice, they will always choose freedom.”

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Hong Kong: Democracy Vote Suspended

For WSJ, Isabella Steger reports: Four weeks after volleys of tear gas by police led thousands of protesters to seize control of streets across Hong Kong, the leaders of the pro-democracy movement are struggling to control its disparate groups as fatigue and frustration set in.

[Follow Pundit Planet’s EXCLUSIVE coverage of the Hong Kong protests]

On Sunday, a split among the protest groups led to the abrupt cancellation of a two-day vote on the latest offer by city officials, just hours before it was set to begin. Some protesters criticized the vote saying the groups organizing it didn’t represent them.

‘“In this movement, I’m motivated by myself, not the leadership.”’

—Bonnie Kong, 30

“I admit the [leaders] have made a mistake,” said Alex Chow, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students. “We look forward to having more discussions with protesters in the three protest sites.”

A pro-democracy protester sits on a barricade at a protest site in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 26, 2014. Four weeks after tens of thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese city, weary demonstrators remain encamped across several major roads.   AFP PHOTO / Philippe LopezPHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

A pro-democracy protester sits on a barricade at a protest site in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 26, 2014.   Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

He linked hands with other key figures from the three groups leading the protests and bowed in apology. Joshua Wong, the 18-year-old leader of one of the two student groups, asked for protesters’ forgiveness, and all admitted that the decision to hold the vote was hasty and lacked preparation.

“Without [a united front] the protest groups can’t consolidate power and there is no structure for discussions, let alone making decisions.”

— Leung Kwok-hung, chairman of the League of Social Democrats

Bonnie Kong, 30, who works in media sales, said she accepted the leaders’ apology but said they didn’t represent her. “We don’t follow the leadership,” she said. “In this movement, I’m motivated by myself, not the leadership.”

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The city’s government, which has refused to meet their demands, is hoping that public opinion turns against the students. Groups of opponents to the protesters, wearing blue ribbons in support of the police, carried out a petition drive and held rallies over the weekend.

“The most resilient aspect of this movement is the unity of the protesters. There is no ‘organizer’ in this movement. Each time the crowds swelled, was it because ‘organizers’ asked people to come out or was it because of something the government did?”

— Keita Lee, 28, a cook, who expects the occupation of Admiralty to last at least until the Lunar New Year in February

On Sunday evening, Carrie Lam, the government official who led the one meeting with students, called for more talks. “Our community expects the government and the student representatives to hold more dialogues in order to as soon as possible get out of the current impasse,” Ms. Lam said in a TV interview.

Pro-democracy leaders (L-R) Benny Tai, Joshua Wong and Alan Leong arrive. Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Pro-democracy leaders (L-R) Benny Tai, Joshua Wong and Alan Leong arrive. Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Besides tear gas and pepper spray, the protesters have endured attacks from opponents and efforts by police and others to clear the roads they occupy in three densely populated districts of Hong Kong, including the main protest site surrounding the city government headquarters. Those actions have galvanized the protesters, drawing out large crowds whenever the movement was under attack.

But time is starting to take its toll. Read the rest of this entry »


Beijing Blinks: Hong Kong Leader Leung Chun-ying Offers Talks with Protesters as He Refuses to Accept Calls for Him to Resign

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James Legge writes: Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader has offered talks to student leaders whose demonstrations against what they say is China’s attempt to gerrymander elections have brought the territory to a standstill.

“This is a war for public support. We must show Leung that we have the support of the masses.”

— Student Leader Joshua Wong

Speaking at the end of a fifth day of protests, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying refused to meet demonstrators’ demands to resign but said his top official, Carrie Lam, would hold a meeting with students to discuss political reforms.

Riot police fire tear gas on student protesters occupying streets surrounding the government headquarters in Hong Kong (AP)

Riot police fire tear gas on student protesters occupying streets surrounding the government headquarters in Hong Kong (AP)

“I hope both sides will be satisfied,” said Ms Lam, the city’s Chief Secretary. “Students had wanted a public meeting but I hope that we can have some flexibility to discuss details.” Occupy Central continued to demand Mr Leung’s resignation, and reject Beijing’s framework, but said it “welcomes the news that Ms Lam will meet with the students” and “hopes the talks can bring a turning point to the current political stalemate”.

“In any place in the world, if there are any protesters that surround, attack, or occupy government buildings like police headquarters, or the chief executive’s office… the consequences are serious”

— Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying

Mr Leung’s position had been bolstered earlier in the day when the People’s Daily newspaper, a Communist Party mouthpiece, published an editorial saying the party was “very satisfied” with his performance and had full confidence in his leadership. It also referred to the protest as “illegal activities” which threatened to bring chaos.

Pro-democracy protesters gather outside Government Office at Admiralty district in Hong Kong (AFP)

Pro-democracy protesters gather outside Government Office at Admiralty district in Hong Kong (AFP)

Nonetheless, the promise of face-to-face talks is an unusual concession by the Chinese government, and demonstrates their concern that the protests in one of Asia’s most important economic centres will continue over the weekend.

As Mr Leung spoke, hundreds of police officers stood at the barricade around his office, faced by thousands of protesters. Some of the police wore riot shields, and earlier in the day officers were seen carrying tear gas and rubber bullets into the area. Read the rest of this entry »