Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Hong Kong district polls show ‘August 31 decision was right’, says Global Times

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Chinese tabloid Global Times has said the results of Sunday’s Hong Kong District Council Elections have proved Beijing was right to restrict electoral freedom in the SAR.

In an editorial published on Tuesday, Global Times said Beijing’s “August 31st decision”, which triggered a massive uprising in Hong Kong last year, “was proved to be right” by the outcomes of the first city-wide election since the uprising, known as the Umbrella Movement.

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Civil servants counting votes. Photo: HKFP.

The decision, issued by China’s legislature the National People’s Congress, set out the framework for the 2017 Hong Kong chief executive election. The framework included a nomination committee dominated by Beijing loyalists, which will screen candidates before they are put forward for Hong Kong people to choose.

The document drew huge public backlash in Hong Kong, triggering a territory-wide class boycott which eventually escalated into mass protests. Some of the busiest roads in the city occupied for more than two months.

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Global Times editorial titled “Hong Kong district council elections prove August 31st decision was correct.” Photo: huanqiu.com screenshot.

A year after the protests, some of those protesters have formed political groups and won seats in the district council elections. Labelled “Umbrella soldiers”, these fresh political faces have shaken traditionally powerful parties from both sides of the political divide.

Global Times admitted the “Umbrella soldiers” have “created a widely-watched trend”, but said that Hong Kong’s political scene has remained much the same. The pro-establishment side has maintained its dominance, the paper said.

“The stable big picture highlighted by the district council elections provides the condition [for the government] to explore its methods in Hong Kong. Last year’s August 31st decision was proved to be correct, there should be no need for hesitation in the future,” the editorial reads.

Hong Kong district polls show 'August 31 decision was right', says Global Times