Whoever wins, livelihood has the final say in career of HK councilors
Liu Jianxi

Editor's Note: Liu Jianxi is an opinion editor with CGTN Digital. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Hong Kong opposition camp gained a majority of seats in Sunday's district council election – the first polls since the city was battered by six months of violence. Before the final results had been officially announced, anti-China hawks in the West had already started to celebrate the triumph of "democracy" over "annihilated pro-Beijing forces."

The West never wastes any single chance to attack China. The election and its result itself is strong evidence that democracy is never a problem in Hong Kong. Otherwise, the opposition, most of whom take an antagonistic view against the central government, would have never won in the first place. 

However, it must be noted that even though the opposition candidates rode the wave of the ongoing turmoil to win, it, by no means, could be interpreted as the public's support for rioters or acquiescence to violence. As reverberations of six-month-long unrest, voters, with many of them having insufficient political experiences, could be easily swayed to the opposition camp. The opposition's overwhelming victory in 2003 district council election, held months after the large-scaled demonstrations against a national security law, is a typical example.

In addition, the role that West-fabricated news has played in affecting Hong Kong's public opinion cannot be underestimated. Prior to the election, Western media had been hyping that Simon Cheng, a former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong was detained and "tortured" over the violent protests. Although video clips later proved that Cheng was detained for soliciting prostitutes, the fabricated news have already tainted the image of the central government and swayed voters' impression on pro-establishment forces.

There are also reports that the elderly in Hong Kong, with most of them pro-establishment supporters, were obstructed from fair voting procedures. Some residents even complained that their ID cards were registered by someone else, making their own votes invalid. Although these allegations are still waiting to be investigated, there is no denying that pro-establishment forces are under very disadvantageous situation this year.

Barnabas Fung, chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission of HKSAR, speaks to the media after the opening of the ballot boxes in Hong Kong, November 25, 2019. /CGTN Photo

Barnabas Fung, chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission of HKSAR, speaks to the media after the opening of the ballot boxes in Hong Kong, November 25, 2019. /CGTN Photo

But despite all unfavorable conditions, pro-establishment camp still secured nearly 40 percent of votes in the district council. Even though the West has openly expressed support for opposition forces by, for instance, passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy bill, they, as ballots suggest, did not gain a landslide victory as some irresponsible Western media hyped. This tells a lot. The public in Hong Kong has not been overwhelmingly swayed by what has happened in the past six months.

In fact, it is livelihood issues, not politics, that are supposed to be the most important criterion in Sunday's votes. Under normal circumstances, councilors were elected for their capability and will to serve the local community. But apparently, this year's election is more about candidates' political stand. Some elected opposition candidates are even thinking to take advantage of their political role to influence Hong Kong higher-level politics as district councilors will occupy 10 percent of the voting for the city's Chief Executive.

District council is never a hostage that could be hijacked to coerce the Hong Kong government to succumb to the opposition's irrational demands. If councilors, whatever parties they belong, fail to perform their community duties, they will be eventually be kicked out. Whoever be elected, stopping violence and controlling chaos is still an ultimate task facing Hong Kong, and also a prerequisite to improving people's livelihood.

Whether Sunday's election would put an end to the months-long unrest is still waiting to be seen, but one thing is for sure: Hong Kong residents are fed up with violence. Even though the opposition won a majority of seats, this is not an encouragement to rioters. Ending violence and restoring social order is the only way to help Hong Kong out.

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