As Hong Kong begins voting on China's blueprint, locals skip 'undemocratic' process

WION Web Team
Hong Kong Published: Dec 19, 2021, 10:48 AM(IST)

People pass a polling station for the Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong's North Point district on December 19, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Nearly 52 per cent of eligible local Hong Kongers said they will be skipping the voting day as they find no worthy candidates in these elections

As Hong Kong started voting once again, critics have voiced their concerns about China’s ‘patriots only’ rule that has led to an alarming decrease in number of directly elected seats.

In a bid to control who can run for office, Hong Kong has been following China’s new political blueprint. Under this new rule, all candidates have been vetted for their patriotism and loyalty towards China.

In addition to this, a bare minimum of 20 out of the 90 legislature seats will be directly elected, inviting mass criticism from pro-democracy activists.

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Voting began around 8:30 am local time (0030 GMT). However, out of a population of 7.5 million people, only 4.5 million are registered voters. The voting is scheduled to close within 14 hours, during which the turnout is being assumed to be one of the lowest.

While 30 legislature seats will be chosen by pro-Beijing groups that also show an interest in industrial side of the country, the decision of 40 seats will be taken by a group of 1,500 people who are strong China loyalists and are bound to choose candidates keeping in mind their ‘love’, ‘loyalty’ and ‘respect’ for Beijing and its thought process.

Observing the discouraged locals, the government made special efforts to motivate people to vote. Officials sent out flyers, announced that public transport will be free for the voting day, set reminders on locals’ mobile phones, published advertisements on billboards and front pages of newspapers and much more.

However, despite all these measures nearly 52 per cent of eligible local Hong Kongers said they will be skipping the voting day as they find no worthy candidates in these elections.

(With inputs from agencies)

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