Election in Hong Kong returns to the original intention of District Councils
Published: Dec 12, 2023 10:32 PM
Local residents walk into a polling station in Yaumatei 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 Yaumatei Catholic Primary School in Hong Kong on Sunday morning to cast their votes for 7th District Council Election. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

The 7th District Council Ordinary Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), also the first of its kind since the HKSAR reformed the electoral system to improve district governance, concluded on Sunday. The election has drawn some malicious attacks from Western observers. A spokesperson for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on Monday urged the Hong Kong government to respect the civil rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens. 

For those who engage in such hype, they have their own hidden agenda. Their aim is to smear the reform of the electoral system and discredit the practice of "One Country, Two Systems."  A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the UK debunked those wrongful remarks, saying that the UK's relevant remarks deliberately distorted facts and grossly interfered in China's internal affairs.

This is the first District Council election since the HKSAR reformed the electoral system. In this election, the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" has been fully implemented, with active participation of candidates from all walks of life, and the election has been conducted in an orderly and fair manner. The election will inject strong impetus into enhancing district governance and services for the people, as well as the social foundation for Hong Kong to achieve further prosperity. 

This election has received widespread praise for several positive aspects. First, this District Council election has been spared from the infringement of politicization and extremism. Considering Hong Kong's highly complex political environment, various external forces, and the diversity of internal social concepts, this election in Hong Kong is a successful practice. Good governance and elections that go down to the grass-roots level are more relevant to people's livelihoods and their effectiveness must be ensured. 

Second, this election has been a successful demonstration of democratic order, rationality, and civility. The "patriots administering Hong Kong" threshold prevented many anti-China and pro-Hong Kong independence individuals from participating in the election, while also keeping out violent acts, physical confrontations, insults, and other disorderly behaviors. In a sense, this election demonstrates a democratic system with Eastern characteristics that is balanced, non-extremist, and in line with the refined, inclusive, orderly, and harmonious nature of Eastern people.

Third, this District Council election returns to the original intention of the District Councils. It needs to be emphasized that the District Councils are district organizations which are not organs of political power. They are established in accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, and are responsible for providing services. The District Councils can explore ways of governance, but they should never deviate from their positioning under the Basic Law. The members elected are for the purpose of doing practical things for the people. From this perspective, it's hoped that the elected councilors will not only be representative, but also have strong professional capabilities, governance capabilities and the ability to improve people's livelihood. This election achieved a relatively successful result through procedural management and a relatively broad enthusiasm for active and democratic participation.

District Councils have always been given overly "democratic" value by the West. All sectors of society in the HKSAR must deepen their understanding of democracy when exploring the path of democratic practice and democratic development in Hong Kong, and should not simply follow the understanding of democracy imported from the West. The central government is the one that defends and promotes democracy in Hong Kong. The implementation of the National Security Law and the improved electoral system has effectively helped Hong Kong to enter a new stage in which it has restored order and is set to thrive. Today, the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law are better protected.