Voters in Hong Kong took the polls in record numbers on Sunday, giving pro-democracy parties stunning gains as numerous high-profile pro-Beijing officials lost their seats.
“Almost three million voters sent the Carrie Lam administration an unmistakable message on Sunday, flooding to the ballot box in record numbers to vote against pro-establishment candidates and usher in what by all indications should be a staggering victory for the pro-democracy camp,” Public broadcaster RTHK reported. “While official results are yet to be announced, partial counts suggest that opposition candidates should win an overwhelming majority of the 452 District Council seats up for grabs, and may have a winning ratio of as high as nine-to-one.”
RTHK added, “Most analysts had expected the opposition to make significant gains with the government’s popularity ratings at an all-time low, but no one was predicting that the pro-democracy camp would win a majority of seats – much less almost all of them.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that pro-democracy candidates had won 395 of the 452 seats that were up for grabs and that pro-democracy parties were set to control all 18 district councils.
“Almost 3 million people in a city of 7 million queued to vote in the election held every four years, or 71.2 per cent of registered voters,” The Sydney Morning Herald added. “The voter turnout was almost double that seen in the previous election, and attributed to young people voting for the first time.”
CNN reported that “outspoken pro-government legislators Michael Tien and Junius Ho both conceded defeat in their districts” and “Holden Chow, Horace Cheung, Vincent Cheng, and Edward Lau also appeared to be part of a string of upsets from the pro-Beijing DAB party.”
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted support for Hong Kong, writing, “With their vote, the people of Hong Kong delivered a strong rebuke of the authoritarian policies of Beijing. They came out in record numbers, nearly double the last election, to support pro-democracy candidates. When people have a choice, they will always choose freedom.”
With their vote, the people of Hong Kong delivered a strong rebuke of the authoritarian policies of Beijing. They came out in record numbers, nearly double the last election, to support pro-democracy candidates. When people have a choice, they will always choose freedom.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 25, 2019
The Washington Post noted that while pro-Beijing have been successful in the past due to their access to the resources they need to win, this election was different as it “became a referendum on the most fundamental issue in the territory: Whether one stands with the movement fighting for democratic freedoms or with the pro-Beijing establishment that has had a grip on the former colony since Britain handed it back to China in 1997.”
The news out of Hong Kong comes just hours after bombshell revelations were made about China’s concentration camps: that communist China was using artificial intelligence to flag entire groups of people for arrest.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reported that the leaked documents revealed that “Chinese police are guided by a massive data collection and analysis system that uses artificial intelligence to select entire categories of Xinjiang residents for detention.”
“The classified intelligence briefings reveal the scope and ambition of the government’s artificial-intelligence-powered policing platform, which purports to predict crimes based on these computer-generated findings alone,” ICIJ reported. “The China Cables reveal how the system is able to amass vast amounts of intimate personal data through warrantless manual searches, facial recognition cameras, and other means to identify candidates for detention, flagging for investigation hundreds of thousands merely for using certain popular mobile phone apps. The documents detail explicit directives to arrest Uighurs with foreign citizenship and to track Xinjiang Uighurs living abroad, some of whom have been deported back to China by authoritarian governments. Among those implicated as taking part in the global dragnet: China’s embassies and consulates.”