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US News Pro-Democracy Forces in Hong Kong Bolstered by Huge Election Win

06:30  25 november  2019
06:30  25 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

Hong Kong Violence Escalates as Police and Protesters Clash at University

  Hong Kong Violence Escalates as Police and Protesters Clash at University HONG KONG — Hundreds of Hong Kong activists armed with petrol bombs and bows-and-arrows battled riot police who have laid a days-long siege to a university, the most violent confrontation yet in a half-year of protests. HONG KONG — Hundreds of Hong Kong activists armed with petrol bombs and bows-and-arrows battled riot police who have laid a days-long siege to a university, the most violent confrontation yet in a half-year of protests.

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong residents handed an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates in a vote for local district councils on Sunday, a stunning repudiation of the city’s Beijing-backed government after months of increasingly violent protests seeking meaningful elections.

Pro-democracy candidates won 86% seats of the 444 seats counted as of 9 a.m., official results showed, with eight seats still up for grabs. In the last election in 2015, they had won about a quarter of all seats. The pro-government camp won about 12% of seats this time around, versus 65% four years ago. The vote saw record turnout of 71%, with more than 2.94 million people casting ballots -- roughly double the number in the previous election.

The Date Hong Kong Protesters Can’t Escape

  The Date Hong Kong Protesters Can’t Escape The year 2047 is a deadline that has come to symbolize the end of the territory’s way of life.It is a question—and a date—that has hung over this city and its demonstrations these past several months. When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, the two countries agreed on a 50-year transition period in which its liberties would be maintained. But as those freedoms have come under increasing threat from Beijing, including in the form of an extradition law that has triggered the worst political crisis in Hong Kong since the handover, 2047 has become more than just a distant deadline.

Residents celebrate outside of a polling station in Hong Kong on Nov. 25.

Pro-democracy supporters celebrate after pro-Beijing politician Junius Ho lost his election in Hong Kong, early Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. Vote counting was underway in Hong Kong early Monday after a massive turnout in district council elections seen as a barometer of public support for pro-democracy protests that have rocked the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for more than five months. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Pro-democracy supporters celebrate after pro-Beijing politician Junius Ho lost his election in Hong Kong, early Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. Vote counting was underway in Hong Kong early Monday after a massive turnout in district council elections seen as a barometer of public support for pro-democracy protests that have rocked the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for more than five months. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The vote came at a time of unprecedented political polarization in the city, with divisions hardening as the protests become more disruptive and the government refuses to compromise. While the district councils are considered the lowest rung of Hong Kong’s government, the results will add pressure on the government to meet demands including an independent inquiry into police abuses and the ability to nominate and elect the city’s leader, including one who would stand up to Beijing.

Hong Kong Protests: Hundreds Arrested at a University and a Warning from Beijing

  Hong Kong Protests: Hundreds Arrested at a University and a Warning from Beijing About 100 protesters remained holed up inside a Hong Kong university on Tuesday, as a standoff between the students and the police stretched into a third day. Hundreds more who had spent days clashing with the police were detained after heavily armed officers surrounded the school and gave the protesters few options but to surrender and face arrest. Nevertheless, a number of students managed a daring escape, rappelling from a nearby bridge to be whisked away by waiting motorbike drivers.

Hong Kong stocks climbed Monday, with the Hang Seng Index rising 1.7%, opening above its 100-day moving average. The gain was led by developers and other stocks seen as most sensitive to the demonstrations. Analysts and investors also said the moves showed relief that the Sunday vote went ahead peacefully.

Speaking to reporters in Japan, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the result wouldn’t change the fact that Hong Kong is part of Chinese territory. Leaders in Beijing have accused the U.S. and U.K. of meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and refuse to allow the city to have a leader who won’t be accountable to the central government.

Gallery: Hong Kong protests (Photo Services)

“Any efforts to create chaos in Hong Kong or to damage Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity will not succeed,” Wang said.

The district councilors have few real powers, mostly advising the chief executive on matters like fixing up parks and organizing community activities. Most importantly, they help appoint 117 of the 1,200 electors who select the chief executive, which would give pro-democracy forces more choice over candidates who must still be approved by Beijing.

The result will make it harder for establishment forces to put in their preferred candidate in the next race for chief executive, said James Tien, a former pro-establishment lawmaker.

Pro-democracy protesters block a road in Hong Kong on November 16, 2019. - China's President Xi Jinping warned on November 14 that protests in Hong Kong threaten the Pro-democracy protesters block a road in Hong Kong on November 16, 2019. - China's President Xi Jinping warned on November 14 that protests in Hong Kong threaten the "one country, two systems" principle governing the semi-autonomous city that has tipped into worsening violence with two dead in a week. (Photo by Ye Aung THU / AFP) (Photo by YE AUNG THU/AFP via Getty Images)

“It will be very difficult for government to manage a win, and then I think it’s more difficult to govern right now,” he told Bloomberg Television on Monday. If the violence dies down after the vote, he said, the government will have “no excuse” not to appoint a commission of inquiry by January.

Will Labour's 'Red Wall' Fall Because Of Brexit Or Corbyn? Or Both?

  Will Labour's 'Red Wall' Fall Because Of Brexit Or Corbyn? Or Both? One of the most common errors in politics is to fight the last war, not the current one. Spooked by the Lib Dems’ yellow surge, the party’s members, MPs and shadow cabinet ministers certainly shifted policy even more towards a second referendum and a pro-Remain stance. But the Lib Dem threat was overstated for a general election, the argument goes, when in fact the real danger was Labour Leavers switching to the Brexit party and letting the Tories in through the back door in key marginals.

The vote shows dissatisfaction with Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s government following months of protests triggered by legislation allowing extraditions to mainland China, which has since been withdrawn. Unhappiness with the administration rose to 80% from just 40% a year ago -- well before the unrest began -- according to surveys by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute. Lam’s popularity has fallen to record lows as the protests evolved into a wider pushback against Beijing’s grip.

Hong Kong “is at the precipice” and could fall off if authorities don’t heed the message of the vote, said Steve Tsang, the director of the China Institute at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and the author of several books on Hong Kong.

A protester (L) watches as other protesters walk along a road near the out of use Cross Harbour Tunnel outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hung Hom, Hong Kong on November 16, 2019. - China's President Xi Jinping warned on November 14 that protests in Hong Kong threaten the A protester (L) watches as other protesters walk along a road near the out of use Cross Harbour Tunnel outside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hung Hom, Hong Kong on November 16, 2019. - China's President Xi Jinping warned on November 14 that protests in Hong Kong threaten the "one country, two systems" principle governing the semi-autonomous city that has tipped into worsening violence with two dead in a week. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

“An overwhelming majority of voters have sent a clear signal: they want their Hong Kong back,” Tsang said. “It’s now time for the government in Hong Kong to hear what people have said and use this electoral result and the way this election has happened as a basis to work for a political solution.”

The vote has been closely watched around the world, particularly as U.S. lawmakers look to support the protesters while President Donald Trump seeks to finalize a phase one trade deal with China. Trump on Friday declined to say whether he would sign a bill that passed Congress with near-unanimous support, saying he supports both the demonstrators and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic candidate for president, said the vote sent a “powerful message that they want to keep their democracy -- and Beijing must respect that.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images) Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Among the early winners were Civil Human Rights Front organizer Jimmy Sham, who was previously hospitalized after he was attacked by hammer-wielding thugs. Starry Lee, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the city’s largest pro-Beijing party, won her re-election even though many other pro-establishment figures lost.

“The high turnout rate did benefit the pro-democracy camp,” said pro-democracy candidate Kelvin Lam, who won after standing in for activist Joshua Wong, who was banned by the government from participating. “The result is like a referendum of the current administration, like a confidence vote.”

The election unfolded peacefully despite concerns it could be delayed or disrupted by violence following unrest in the leadup, with voters facing unusually long lines at polling stations across the city. Its elections have typically been plagued by low voter turnout and aren’t hugely competitive, compared with those for the Hong Kong’s more powerful Legislative Council.

A protestor throws a petrol bomb during clashes with police outside the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong in Hung Hom district of Hong Kong on November 16, 2019. - China's President Xi Jinping warned on November 14 that protests in Hong Kong threaten the A protestor throws a petrol bomb during clashes with police outside the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong in Hung Hom district of Hong Kong on November 16, 2019. - China's President Xi Jinping warned on November 14 that protests in Hong Kong threaten the "one country, two systems" principle governing the semi-autonomous city that has tipped into worsening violence with two dead in a week. (Photo by Ye Aung THU / AFP) (Photo by YE AUNG THU/AFP via Getty Images)

“I came out to vote because of the current situation in society now,” said Ken Lam, 19, a student and first-time voter. “The government is ignoring voices in the public. Policy-making lacks transparency in every aspect.”


Will Labour's 'Red Wall' Fall Because Of Brexit Or Corbyn? Or Both? .
One of the most common errors in politics is to fight the last war, not the current one. Spooked by the Lib Dems’ yellow surge, the party’s members, MPs and shadow cabinet ministers certainly shifted policy even more towards a second referendum and a pro-Remain stance. But the Lib Dem threat was overstated for a general election, the argument goes, when in fact the real danger was Labour Leavers switching to the Brexit party and letting the Tories in through the back door in key marginals.

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