Why the DC debacle might not be a bad thing for pro-Beijing camp

December 03, 2019 18:14
People queue up at a polling station in Hong Kong on Nov. 24 during district council elections. The pro-Beijing camp has suffered a rout in the local body polls, but the setback doesn’t mean the end of the road for the bloc, the author says. Pic: Xinhua

The Nov. 24 District Council election brought not only a landslide victory for the opposition camp, it also offered us a week of tranquility and respite from the social disturbances, an atmosphere that lasted until this past weekend.

The lull in tensions immediately before and after the elections shows that some entities have the power to halt the violence and chaos, but sadly it isn’t the government that is capable of doing that.

Undoubtedly, the pro-establishment camp has suffered a catastrophic defeat in the DC race, losing over 200 seats all of a sudden.

In the aftermath, while some establishment sympathizers have blamed the government for the election fiasco, saying its policies had gone completely out of sync with the public mood, there were others who said losing a single election isn’t the end of the world.

Personally, I agree that what the pro-establishment camp members should do right now is to dust themselves off and start afresh.

Although the camp has lost control of 17 District Councils, its voice is still present across the local bodies.

Given this, if they pull themselves together quickly and make good use of their remaining seats and start preparing for the next election, they will still have a lot of room for political manoeuver in the coming days.

Suffering a huge defeat may not necessarily be a bad thing for the pro-Beijing camp, because it can serve as a timely reminder of the importance of maintaining unity and solidarity among its various factions.

Let’s not forget the fact that in the past, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, two leading pro-establishment parties, were at odds with each other on multiple occasions over candidacies for both the Legislative Council and DC elections.

Given that, it will be good if the leaders of the two parties seize this opportunity and rejuvenate the entire pro-establishment camp in order to win back their lost territory inch by inch in future elections.

After all, despite its latest defeat, the pro-Beijing camp still has the staunch support of over 40 percent of the city’s electorate, suggesting that the bloc can remain a force to be reckoned with.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 29

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]


Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal