Democracy activist Joshua Wong meets the press outside the government headquarters complex in Hong Kong on October 29, 2019, after being barred from running in the upcoming district council election. Photo: AFP

Prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong has been disqualified from running in Sunday’s district council elections, but his party has come up with a plan B, and it could be a winner.

Wong was disqualified from running because he advocates self-determination, which is tantamount to seeking Hong Kong’s independence, and his declarations about his respect for Beijing’s sovereignty over the territory marked a striking departure from his previous stance and were not convincing, an Election Committee official told reporters when explaining Wong’s disqualification at the end of last month.

But Wong’s Demosistō party has been quick to find a plan B candidate, Kelvin Lam, to face off against incumbent district councilor Judy Chan, who is with the pro-Beijing New People’s Party. The seat they will contest is in the affluent South Horizons constituency in Southern District where Wong lives.

A survey by HK01 newspaper, which interviewed more than 100 South Horizons residents, showed that Lam could give Chan a drubbing with an approval rating of 23.8% as he inherits Wong’s election base.

This compares with Chan’s 13.8%, and among Lam’s supporters, mostly young voters, an overwhelming 85% said they would vote for candidates with similar political persuasion, while district and livelihood issues would be “peripheral.”

Joshua Wong and Kelvin Lam. Photo: Handout

Meanwhile, those supporting Chan, a rising star in the pro-Beijing camp, said livelihood issues like housing, education and healthcare should still be the focus of the district polls and the election should not be politicized or hijacked by the ongoing unrest.

The popular divide among the electorate is apparent even in a constituency with a population of about 5,000.

Meanwhile, up to five of the city’s lawmakers who became ex-officio members of the Legislative Council via the District Council functional constituency will also defend their district council and LegCo seats in the upcoming polls.

The five, three from the pan-democratic bloc and two from the pro-establishment camp, will all have to face rivals in their respective districts, but the pan-democrats are thought to be in the reckoning, thanks to the ongoing anti-government protests.

The two pro-Beijing candidates, however, are faced with formidable challenges.

Starry Lee, chairwoman of the city’s largest pro-Beijing political outfit, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), will have a real fight on her hands against veteran democrat and LegCo ex-colleague Leung Kwok-hung, aka “Long Hair,” in her constituency in Kowloon.

Lee’s fellow DAB member Holden Chow may also be unseated by a 25-year-old challenger who belongs to the “paratrooper” generation, a term referring to the youngsters who started their political careers after Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in 2014, which saw the occupation of the city’s central business district for 79 days to press Beijing for genuine universal suffrage, but to no avail.

Candidates from the pro-Beijing DAB party in a stumping campaign. Photo: Handout

Also, the DAB and other pro-Beijing parties fear that protesters may launch flash demonstrations in districts that are traditionally their political bases to deter voters from getting out and disrupt the polls. Lee and Chow’s constituencies are prime candidates for this.

The police will deploy more constables to patrol and guard these potential flashpoints to ensure order. Voting in Hong Kong’s district council elections will start at 7:30am and end at 10:30pm on Sunday.

Read more: Chaos may help pro-govt underdogs in HK elections

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

Join the Conversation

12 Comments

  1. I believe what you said made a bunch of sense. But, think about this, what if you wrote
    a catchier post title? I ain’t suggesting your content is not good, but suppose you added a post
    title that makes people want more? I mean Activist’s plan B may be a winner in HK election – Asia Times is a little boring.
    You could glance at Yahoo’s home page and see how they
    create news titles to get people to open the links. You might add
    a related video or a picture or two to get readers
    excited about what you’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it might
    bring your posts a little bit more interesting.

  2. When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new
    comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added
    I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a means
    you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

  3. Great article! This is the kind of info that are supposed to be
    shared around the net. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this publish higher!
    Come on over and seek advice from my web site .
    Thank you =)

  4. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is
    added I get three emails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Many thanks!

  5. Wow, amazing weblog structure! How long have you been blogging for? you made running a blog glance easy. The full look of your site is wonderful, as well as the content material!

  6. Hi, i believe that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to “go back the favor”.I’m attempting to in finding issues to improve my website!I assume its adequate to make use of a few of your ideas!!

  7. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog
    has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a
    lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission.
    Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d
    certainly appreciate it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *