Hong Kong’s ‘Patriots-Only’ Election Signals a Dark Turn for Democracy

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to a reporter’s question during a press conference in Beijing, Dec. 22, 2021 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to a reporter’s question during a press conference in Beijing, Dec. 22, 2021 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

A record low 30 percent of the Hong Kong electorate voted in Sunday’s legislative elections, the first to be held since Beijing’s overhaul of the city’s electoral system to ensure that only “patriots” can run for public office there. The dramatic drop in voter turnout—as compared with 57 percent in the previous city-wide elections in 2016 and a record 71 percent in district council elections in 2019—reflects the “silent opposition” of the people of Hong Kong to the electoral changes, many activists in exile said. Described by the Hong Kong government as “improvements” over the previous system, the revamped rules curtailed […]

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