Central government's authorities extend warm congratulations to HK's successful holding of the 7th District Council Election
Published: Dec 11, 2023 10:47 AM
Local residents walk into a polling station in Yaumati Catholic Primary School in Hong Kong on Sunday morning to cast their votes for 7th District Council Election. (Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT)

Local residents walk into a polling station in Yaumati Catholic Primary School in Hong Kong on Sunday morning to cast their votes for 7th District Council Election. (Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT)

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council (HKMAO), the liaison office of the central government in Hong Kong and the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the central government in Hong Kong, and the Commissioner's Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong extended their warm congratulations on Monday morning to the successful holding of the 7th District Council (DC) election and to 176 district councilors from district committees and 88 local district councilors elected. 

The election is another important milestone in increasing the level of local governance and will serve to inject strong momentum into the local governance, improve public services  and further consolidate the foundation of governance and social development, the HKMAO said.

This is the first DC election since the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HSKAR) reshaped the DC system and is the HKSAR's in-depth implementation of the spirit of President Xi Jinping's important speech at the meeting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland and the inauguration ceremony of the sixth government of the HKSAR, and the comprehensive implementation of the principle of only patriots administering Hong Kong, the HKMAO said. 

A total of 1.19 million Hong Kong residents cast their votes in the election on Sunday, equal to an accumulative turnout of 27.54 percent, according to official data. The voting process concluded at midnight on Sunday.

To address both the symptoms and root causes of failures across local governance, the central government adopted a series of measures including the National Security Law for Hong Kong and improved the electoral system of the HKSAR, and the city has achieved a major turning point from chaos to governance. Today, the HKSAR promptly reshaped its DC system in accordance with the law to fully implement "patriots administering Hong Kong." 

The restructuring of the city’s political system is of great and far-reaching significance for the HKSAR to eliminate the roots of "chaos," consolidate the foundation of "governance," and continue to move toward governance and prosperity, the HKMAO said. 

The Office for Safeguarding National Security under the central government in Hong Kong said that the election completely eliminated the chaos of previous DC elections, bid farewell to the vicious competition of confrontation and division, and created an electoral culture of rational civil engagement.

The restructuring of the political system is helping push the DC back on track, comprehensively implementing the principle of only patriots administering Hong Kong, consolidating the administrative leadership system of the SAR and developing high-quality democracy with Hong Kong characteristics, the HKMAO and the liaison office said. 

The DC is a non-governmental regional organization established in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law and plays advisory and service functions in the regional governance of the SAR. 

However, for a period of time, under the manipulation of anti-China and disruptive elements in Hong Kong, the operation of DCs had become warped, even to the point of impacting social order. Especially during the anti-amendment bill movement, a group of anti-China and disruptive elements in Hong Kong took advantage of institutional loopholes to enter the DC and turned it into a platform for promoting "Hong Kong independence," "black violence" and "mutual destruction,” seriously disrupting the HKSAR government's lawful administration.

It seriously challenged the bottom line of One Country, Two Systems and threatened national security and Hong Kong's stability, central government officials said.

This painful lesson must be learned deeply, and such a bad situation must not be allowed to repeat itself. The HKSAR reshaped the district council system, accurately implemented the provisions of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, and through systemic reforms, the DC can completely remove itself from politicized and populist disputes and put itself back on the right track. 

The new DC system optimizes the election nomination mechanism and improves the candidate qualification review mechanism, effectively preventing anti-China disruptors in Hong Kong from being voted onto the DC, and completely ends the anti-China disruptors in Hong Kong and the external forces behind them, such as the US and the West, from seizing the power to govern the HKSAR through elections. 

The plan is to ensure that the leadership of the DC is firmly in the hands of the patriots and to ensure that the One Country, Two Systems is fully and accurately implemented at the regional governance level of the SAR, the HKMAO said. 

The new DC fully embodies the requirements of an administrative-led system and further clarifies the nature of the district council as a non-governmental regional organization and its advisory and service functions to assist the HKSAR government in carrying out its responsibilities. 

Under the new system, the DCs can effectively play an active role in "advising and assisting the government" under the direct leadership and coordination of the HKSAR government, and truly become a channel to help the local government listen to the voices of the people, monitor their sentiments, understand their opinions, and resolve their concerns.

The new DC system develops a full-process and orderly democratic path that is in line with Hong Kong's actual situation in many aspects, including: while retaining geographical constituency members, it also increases district committee members and appointed members, and attracts people from different backgrounds who are interested in serving the society into district councils.

It makes the source of DC members more balanced, more professional and more representative, optimizing the election and nomination mechanism and giving play to the important role of the "three committees" in the region to strengthen the close connection between district council members and the district. 

It also established a mechanism for monitoring the performance of district council members to strengthen the DC work’s accountability and transparency, enabling citizens to effectively supervise the performance of district councilors.

The central government’s authorities said the 7th DC election was a fair, just, engaged and orderly election. With a total of 399 candidates running for 264 seats, in some constituencies, there were even five to six candidates vying for just two local seats, the entire election campaign is open and transparent, with fair and healthy competition among the candidates.

Candidates understood the need for moral character, an appropriate political platform, ability and motivation to form an election culture that is clean, safe and upright. More than 1.19 million voters participated in the voting, taking concrete actions to fight back against those who attempted to undermine the election from abroad.

Central government’s authorities also said the election promotes the optimization and improvement of democracy. District council election under the new system included both local constituency elections and district committee sector elections, attracting more capable patriots with different backgrounds, professions, and experiences to participate. 

The 399 candidates came from different political groups and social groups, and the proportion of professionals such as lawyers, teachers, engineers, and women, young people, and ethnic minorities increased significantly, fully demonstrating diversity, professionalism, and youthfulness.

Through this DC election, Hong Kong society has further realized that the mistakes of the anti-extradition bill movement in 2019 must not be repeated, and the previous chaos in the DC must not be repeated, authorities said. 

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the central government in Hong Kong said this election results fully demonstrate that the One Country, Two Systems institutional system has been continuously improved, and that national security and the rule of law have escorted the HKSAR's democratic development back on track.