World

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In Hong Kong, the opposition camp held an unofficial primary to decide the strongest “pro-democracy” candidates to contest elections in September for the city’s Legislative Council amid the new China-imposed national security law

In Hong Kong, the opposition camp held an unofficial primary to decide the strongest “pro-democracy” candidates to contest elections in September for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (US News). After the two day election, the group reported on July 12th that over 600,000 people had voted: 592,000 voted online after having their IDs validated in person, and 21,000 by paper ballot (Reuters). Thousands of volunteers manned the more than 250 polling stations across the city (Reuters). While the vote is not official, it will help party officials attempt to gain majority control for the first time from pro-Beijing rivals (NBC). ~

For the city of 7.5 million, the turnout was high, especially given the newest national security law, which punishes “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces”  with up to life in prison (Reuters). Hong Kong officials warned that the primary could run foul of the law, and discouraged citizens from participating (US News). Even if there is no direct backlash, candidates running can be arrested or disqualified under the new law “without a proper reason” (Reuters). ~

According to Aljazeera, the Chinese government was not pleased with the voting, with Hong Kong police raiding the Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI), a polling company that was helping organize the primaries, just hours before the voting began.There have also been arrests for individuals shouting slogans, or holding up blank pieces of paper (Aljazeera). In light of this, organizers and pro-democracy activists are calling the election a “miracle” considering it a rare window for populist expression, especially since public marches and rallies have been banned for months amid COVID-19 restrictions (Aljazeera). ~

ARTICLE: DANIEL ENGLAND

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