The campaigning for the 2016 Hong Kong Legislative Council election are over, and by the time this article comes out, the result should have already been announced. I have no idea who will win, and I hope that the Civic-Proletariat-Resurgence triumvirate can get at least 5 people into LegCo. In the aftermath of the election campaigning, it is time to review it and reveal the rotten and disgusting going on behind the scene.
The Establishment: goons and threats
For the pro-establishment, the ugliest incident was when Chow Wing Kan announced that he will withdraw from contesting in election, implicating Junius Ho for being involved in threats against Chow’s family and friends, should Chow continue to compete for the pro-establishment votes. Initially in the campaign, Chow had accused Junius Ho having lied about certain claims to potential voters, threatening the latter’s election prospect. Junius Ho admitted the one who sent the Whatsapp voice message is one of his volunteers, but has denied any involvement on his part. Chow left Hong Kong after his announcement for Europe, declaring that he is there to escape any potential dangers, and stating that those who made the threat on his relatives and friends went as high as CY Leung himself. Critics have suspected that this is really just the façade for a greater battle between two different factions in the pro-communist camp: the Zhang faction versus Xi’s faction.
In china, people were coerced to persuade their Hong Kong relatives to vote for pro-china contestants, sometimes with incentives and some with barely veiled threats. In Hong Kong, pro-china organisations and even some churches coerced their members to vote for the pro-establishment, mostly through the distribution of incentives and gifts. The voting is anonymous, yet the pro-china forces created the impression that they know who voted what. The pro-china forces also employed goons and trolls paid to harass pan-democratic and localists’ street-side campaign booths, often intimidating volunteers with physical contact and verbal assaults. Against the Civic-Proletariat-Resurgence triumvirate, they employed local triad and street gangs to put stickers and posters up everywhere, telling Hong Kongers not to vote for the triumvirate’s representatives.
For the HKSAR regime, they banned certain potential election contestants, the most famous of which were Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung Tin Kei and Hong Kong National Party’s Andy Chan Ho-Tin, on the grounds that the EAC officers did not believe the disqualified candidate’s declaration to uphold the Basic Law – especially the articles within that reserve sovereign powers to china – or refusal to sign the extra declaration form which supposedly asked the potential candidate if they are familiar with the pro-china articles and clauses in the Basic Law. It was a useless gesture (because the candidate registration form already had the statutory declaration that the signatory will uphold the Basic Law) but was employed as pretence to kick out anyone who advocated or supported Hong Kong Independence. In addition, it was revealed that ballot papers would be kept at the homes of EAC officers before taking them to the polling places on election day, raising concerns and fears that the ballot papers are rigged in favour of pro-china candidates. As usual, the HKSAR regime denied the concerns, citing it as usual practice.
The pan-democrats: slandering and intrigues
You wouldn’t think anything ugly could come out of people who declared themselves on the side of freedom and democracy, yet their ugliness had been worse than the pro-china forces. They self-proclaimed that all supporters of democracy should unite as one against china’s meddling, but attacked localists factions simply because we had been highly critical of their actions and proposals since years ago. One shameless attack was during the televised election forum for Kowloon West, when pan-democrat candidate ganged up on Youngspiration’s inexperienced candidate Yau Wai Ching: with one contestant claiming that Yau’s supporters are influenced by hormones rather than thoughts (because of Yau’s beauty and youth); two others made statements against Yau that is blatant sexual harassment, and a few news media claiming that Youngspiration is secretly funded by china to take away votes from the pan-democrats.
The Civic-Proletariat-Resurgence triumvirate received the majority of pan-democrats’ attacks, who would often twist and misrepresent our election campaign platform: de-facto Referendum for Constitutional Reform, extending the Basic Law in perpetuity. The pan-democrats tried to portray that the triumvirate wanted to extend the current Basic Law’s mandate thus ensuring china’s meddling in Hong Kong, despite we having clearly stated that the first stage is to have popular involvement in amending the current Basic Law, ridding it of loopholes and unjust clauses that give china power to meddle with Hong Kong’s practical sovereignty; they claim that the triumvirate’s campaign platform is impractical despite we having clearly listed out the steps we will take to achieve our ends, or that it can be blocked by the HKSAR regime thus rendering it useless, despite we having said that should that happen we would escalate our actions to the point of outright revolution.
The pan-democrats also tried to make the triumvirate out as self-contradictory, saying that Wong Yuk Man last year and the year before have declared the Basic Law being trash, and now he advocates the perpetual extension of the Basic Law. The C-P-R triumvirate had stated clearly since our announcement of our election platform all the way back in February, that the Basic Law as it stands currently is trash thus requires amendment, and the amendment process must have popular involvement, only with a popular revised version and mandate will the Basic Law be pushed for extending into perpetuity. The pan-democrats also mislead voters we would keep the first article of the Basic Law, which secures china’s powers over Hong Kong, thus contradicting our localist and anti-china stance, even though one of our contestants – Horace Chin Wan – stated that we can leave the first article alone initially to have china off our backs, and then revisit the issue once the rest of the Basic Law has been revised; any amendment must have popular mandate thus it is not up to the triumvirate to proclaim which to revise and which to keep; that even if we leave the first article as it stands, by amending the rest of the Basic Law would render the first article powerless; and if china does declare “One Country, Two Systems” void, we would declare the first article void and advocate Hong Kong independence. The pan-democrats’ most ridiculous attempt to discredit us was clipping election forum videos, making it out as if they “KO” the triumvirate’s contestants; or during the televised election forum would take advantage of the rules, having the host of the forum silencing opponents’ microphones to create the illusion that they “KO” their opponents; and the most hilarious was not allowing the opponent to respond to accusations in order to declare that they have “KO” their opponents.
The pan-democrats also attacked their own, having their supporters secretly spreading lies that certain so-and-so have enough votes and asked voters to cast their votes on themselves; one “victim” was Chan Chi Chuen, whose supporters were told to give their votes to “Long Hair” Leung Kwok Hung because Chan supposedly have enough votes to be elected into LegCo. Benny Tai, the organiser of the failed Occupy Central, tried to organise voters the way the pro-establishment does with theirs, ensuring a situation where the pan-democrats will gain the most seats at LegCo, but was revealed by Civic Passion to be potentially violating election regulations. A pre-election poll organised by Hong Kong University, published by two Hong Kong media companies was found to be funded by the Democratic Party, thus potentially politically-biased, and for which the two companies withdraw from publishing the polls’ findings. Towards the last stretch of the campaigning, several candidates suddenly declare their withdrawal from election, proclaiming that they did so to ensure those pro-democracy candidates with higher chances to win will get elected. Not only are they trivialising the Chow Wing Kan’s (see earlier) ordeal that led to his withdraw from election, but also that of the election process by betraying the hopes of their voters who have nominated them into the election. Coincidentally or not, the pan-democrat contestants who have announced their withdrawal were those who would not have been elected otherwise, and thus suspected of trying their withdrawal to look good in pro-democratic voters’ eyes. The most ridiculous thing about this latter incident is that the ploy worked, with many Hong Kongers praising these contestants who withdrew.
The Localists: upstarts and unethical
To be fair, the various localist factions were not immune from ugly intrigues during the 2016 LegCo election, as much as I would like to look over it. In our case, the ugly intrigues began way back in February, soon after the New Territories East by-election drew to a close. Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung Tin Kei participated in the by-election, with Civic Passion and Hong Kong Political Proletariat Institute’s members fully involved in helping Indigenous with their campaigning, after the two organisations’ leaders – Wong Yeung Tat and Wong Yuk Man respectively – endorsed Edward, as Indigenous’ campaign circular was disqualified from free mailing by the Electoral Affairs Committee for having the words “self-determination” in the circular. This disqualification meant that Indigenous was at a disadvantage in the by-election, as it means their campaign platform will not reach potential voters, thus Civic Passion and Hong Kong Political Proletariat Institute took to the streets to distribute flyers to local residents, in order to compensate for the disadvantage. Once the by-election results were announced, Civic Passion’s Wong Yeung Tat announced in the same week that he will organise Civic Passion, Hong Kong Political Proletariat Institute and Hong Kong Resurgence into a triumvirate, for the purpose of campaigning for the de-facto Referendum on Constitutional Reform. Immediately, some localists who did not necessarily ally themselves with Civic Passion, criticised Wong Yeung Tat for taking advantage of the by-election campaigning’s high morale to further his own agenda. Wong replied that he had been discussing the idea with Wong Yuk Man and the others way back in January, but could not announce it sooner due to the Lunar New Year protest having erupted, Hong Kong Indigenous members being arrested and then helping in the by-election. Wong stated that if he had announced it during any of those incidents, he would have been branded as hijacking or changing the issue; and if he announced it later, it would be way too late to have the proper preparation necessary to promote the de-facto referendum idea. Some localists remained unhappy and angry at Wong Yeung Tat for this; not long after, the Hong Kong independence faction arose, after Andy Chan Ho Tin declared the formation of the Hong Kong National Party, who will advocate for Hong Kong independence; those unhappy with Civic Passion quickly jumped onto the Hong Kong independence bandwagon.
When Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung was disqualified from contesting, he initiated “plan B” in allying with Youngspiration’s Baggio Leung, with an Indigenous’ member being Baggio’s second. Many localists did not like the idea, as Youngspiration was perceived as just a new version of the opportunistic pan-democrats, but conceded to the alliance hoping that it would help bring Hong Kong Independence into LegCo’s public forum. Edward, together with Ray Wong (convenor of Hong Kong Indigenous), arranged at lunch meeting with Wong Yuk Man, explaining why they needed to ally with Youngspiration and hoped Yuk Man would understand the need to do so. In the Civic-Proletariat-Resurgence triumvirate’s final rally which saw all nine representatives come together to raise morale, Yuk Man revealed that during this meeting he asked Edward if he could endorse Alvin Cheng Kam Mun, the triumvirate’s representative in the Hong Kong Island electorate - since Youngspiration has no representative there thus not a competitor - that if Edward would do so then Yukman would have no qualms with Edward standing for Youngspiration’s Yau Wai Ching in the Kowloon West electorate (also Yuk Man’s electorate), or any of the other electorate where there are representatives for both the triumvirate and Youngspiration. Edward and Ray both said they cannot give an answer straight away, citing that they need to discuss the proposal with other members of Hong Kong Indigenous, but according to Yuk Man, no reply was ever given but people saw Edward standing with Yau Wai Ching at Youngspiration rally.
Immediately, supporters of the triumvirate and other localist groups decried Edward for bad form and lack of basic ethics, citing the fact that Civic Passion and Yukman had unconditionally helped Edward during the New Territories East by-election, so the least Edward could do was give a straight answer to Yukman. On the same night that Yukman revealed the incident during the triumvirate’s rally, Edward stated on his live Facebook broadcast that he will endorse Alvin Cheng as a localist candidate, and had invited him to the former’s show at My Radio. The critics would have none of such a pathetic excuse, saying that standing with Alvin in one of his street-side campaigning booths has more reach than a mere online show, as the audience is limited and who already would be supporting Alvin in any case. Edward’s supporters defended his action, saying things like “who is Yukman that Edward must answer to?” or “why should Edward help Alvin?”, even things like “Yukman is scared that Yau will take away his votes” and “Yukman is old, we should take his votes”. This further drove a wedge between Hong Kong Indigenous’ supporters, as well as those for Hong Kong independence, and those who supports the triumvirate, who had once been on friendly terms with each other although not necessarily agree on certain assertions.
The 2016 Hong Kong Legislative Council election saw ugliness of Hong Kong in all three major political camps, many of them being veiled violence and shameless intrigues. Most disappointing of all, the localist camp that had better reputation for the supporters’ sense of justice and conduct, is suddenly found to have members who employed unethical tactics in dealing with competition, namely in the same camp. Whatever the outcome of the election, it seems Hong Kong still has a long way to go before normalcy can resume in this city-state.