Warnings, Wariness Mingle With Joy After Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Landslide

Warnings, Wariness Mingle With Joy After Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Landslide

Warnings, Wariness Mingle With Joy After Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Landslide

Wu Chi-wai, chairman of the Democratic Party, now the largest political party at the district council level, attributed its success to the eruption of public grievances against the Hong Kong government triggered by a now-scrapped anti-extradition bill.

Pro-democracy forces swept Hong Kong district council elections over the weekend, boosting pressure on the city's Beijing-backed government to listen to protesters' demands for greater freedoms.China responded sternly to the landslide in the vote widely seen as a referendum on public support for the anti-government demonstration movement.

The standoffs were stoked in part by the death of a protester after a fall, and the shooting of another by a policeman at point-blank range.

As of 7 a.m. local time, pro-democracy groups have secured a total of 334 seats, while the pro-establishment camp scored 37. Indeed, in the aftermath of the election, the former "loyalists" were unstinting in apportioning blame to Lam and her government.

Hong Kong administrator Carrie Lam, meanwhile, said that the semi-autonomous city's government would respect the results of the district poll.

District councillors lack political heft and deal largely with livelihood issues.

"We won a small battle today but it shows that Hong Kong people have a chance to win the war".

"It's noteworthy that pro-Beijing camp still won [up to] 40% of the [total number of] votes, thanks partly to their years-long experience in community work and strong connections in local districts", he added.

Democratic candidates secured more than half of the 452 district council seats for the first time ever after residents turned out in record numbers on November 24 to cast their vote.

Most Chinese media sidestepped mentioning the results when they reported on the elections, saying only that polls had closed in Hong Kong.

"This time it will have a more lasting effect given the sheer anger towards the government", political commentator Ching Cheong told Al Jazeera.

Lam's room to maneuver, however, remains "very limited", according to a voice recording obtained by Reuters this summer, though she has stressed a need to first end the violence and halt the chaos.

Their demands include direct popular elections and a probe into alleged police brutality against demonstrators.

The bill was eventually withdrawn, but the resulting public rage unleashed broader demands and led to violent clashes between police and protesters. But the government has so far said existing police oversight mechanisms are sufficient to handle complaints.

Joseph Yu-shek Cheng is Chair Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of the Contemporary China Research Project, City University of Hong Kong.

In a joint news conference that followed their meeting, Motegi said Japan and China signed a bilateral animal health and quarantine agreement, a key step towards the resumption of Japanese beef export to China.

In an apparent response to the Hong Kong elections, the People's Daily, a Communist Party-controlled paper, posted a video on Twitter documenting what it said was the US history of intervention in foreign elections, including in Hong Kong.

Results from 241 races tabulated early Monday by the newspaper showed 201 pro-democracy candidates winning their races as opposed to just 28 pro-Beijing establishment candidates and 12 independents.

The election brought a respite in the unrest, as protesters focused on getting the vote out to support their cause - and not give the government a reason to postpone the vote because of the violence.

"I see myself as one of the protesters, and now people voted for me, they voted for protesters".

Although some pro-Beijing heavyweights were toppled by relative newcomers, the DAB's Lee says her party will regroup for key legislative council elections next September.

"If I was Carrie Lam, I should prepare for the speech of my resignation", pro-democracy activist and legislator Leung Kwok-hung said.

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