HK adopts District Council amendment to end chaotic political performance
Published: Jul 06, 2023 11:57 PM
The Hong Kong Legislative Council has unanimously passed a bill on Thursday on amending District Council (DC) elections. Photo: VCG

The Hong Kong Legislative Council has unanimously passed a bill on Thursday on amending District Council (DC) elections. Photo: VCG


The Hong Kong Legislative Council has unanimously passed a bill on Thursday on amending District Council (DC) elections, in accordance to the principle of only patriots administering Hong Kong, with the aim of putting an end to chaotic political performance of the previous years as the opposition forces hijacked the district councils for political goals. 

The District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2023, which offers a reform package to redefine district councils' functions and composition, and establishes new mechanisms to punish any misconduct of district councilors, was approved unanimously by 88 lawmakers at the LegCo meeting on Thursday.

The overall seat number of the new DCs will be 470, including 179 appointed seats, 176 mutually elected seats among district committees and 88 directly elected seats, according to the reform plan unveiled in May.

Since 2020, a lot of the current-term district council members acted against the functions of DCs, disrupted the conduct of meetings and unscrupulously took actions that were not in line with the functions of DCs as district advisory organizations. "The chaos is a wake-up call for us. We must plug the institutional loopholes and completely exclude those anti-China and destabilizing forces from the DCs," Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, said on Thursday. 

This legislative exercise implements the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" at the district governance level to ensure that the DCs are firmly in the hands of patriots, and will strictly adhere to the Basic Law to carry out advisory and service functions, make due contributions to the district governance work and effectively respond to the expectations of the public, Lee said. 

The passage of the bill marks the smooth completion of the legislative work of the HKSAR to reshape the district council system, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said on Thursday. 

 This is another important measure taken by the HKSAR to fully implement the "patriots administering Hong Kong" and constantly improve its governance. It will surely play an important role in moving Hong Kong from chaos to governance and prosperity, the office noted. 

A survey conducted by the Federation of New Territories Youth and HK Youth Vision showed that over 80 percent of respondents supported the DC reform, and nearly 80 percent considered that the reform is conducive to improving social development and livelihoods. The survey received 2,160 responses, the Global Times has learned. 

Improving the district local governance is an important step in implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," which is of great significance to the realization of good governance, Victor Chan, who was in charge of the survey, told the Global Times on Thursday. "The unanimous adoption of the plan by the LegCo also reflects the wide support of the public and the expectations for the new DCs." 

However, some Western media focused on the "drastically reducing the number of directly elected seats." Under the amendment, 88 seats would be directly elected by the public, down from 452.

"The excessive number of directly elected seats in the DC could make them too politicized and populist, leading to chaos in the DCs," Elizabeth Quat Pei-fan, a legislator, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The reform will help to attract talents from all sides and form more diversified DCs, which can strengthen grassroots governance and improve the level of governance again, she said. 

During the second reading of the bill on Thursday, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said she welcomes the proposal to expand the DC constituency, and "one person, one vote" Western-style elections may not be suitable for Hong Kong, but elections are a good experience, and candidates should face the public directly. 

In the future, the number of voters in the district will reach 100,000 or 80,000, and the so-called public opinion authorization of the future district councilors will be equal to or even higher than a British member of parliament, Ip said.