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Pro-Beijing ‘patriots’ sweep HK election amid record low turnout

HONG KONG – Pro-Beijing candidates swept Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) elections amid a historically low turnout as many democratic voters boycotted the polls after Chinese authorities changed electoral rules to ensure that only “loyalists” could run.

The elections, which were postponed from September 2020 to last Sunday for anti-epidemic reasons, saw a turnout of 30.2% of 4.47 million registered voters for the geographical constituency, compared with 58.3% in 2016 and 53% in 2012.

Since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1997, LegCo’s turnout was consistently above 43.6%. When the city was still a British colony, the turnout was 39.2% in 1991 and 35.8% in 1995.

On Monday, Beijing issued a 57-page white paper claiming victory for Hong Kong’s “high-quality democracy” and lauding the 1.35 million people who voted in a show of support for what it termed an “improved electoral system.”

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