Every second Monday, cartoonist Niklas “@Kludd-Niklas” Eriksson contributes a political satire for Kinamedia, Sweden’s biggest news site focusing on China.
Yesterday, the first elections to the Legislative Council (LegCo) in Hong Kong after the anti-extradition bill protest movement and the new national security law took place.
The election had already been postponed for 18 months due to the pandemic. Many however doubt this was the real reason for moving the elections, pointing to the fact that many pro-democratic politicians has since been arrested and the election laws amended in several ways that favour the pro-Beijing establishment.
Some influential voices within the opposition camp have reacted to this with calls for the electorate to cast an invalid ballot or to boycott the election altogether.
The Hong Kong government, in turn, have repeatedly pointed out that it’s illegal to incite another person not to vote or to cast an invalid vote, even threatening foreign media for reporting on the calls to boycott the elections.
Alas, what we saw being played out in Hong Kong yesterday was a kind of elections with Hong Kong characteristics for a new era, if you will. The seats up for election are now less than half of the totals seats in the LegCo, the candidates have all been vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, and still the electorate are not allowed to suggest to each other to boycott the elections.
Even if illegal, the participation rate for yesterday’s LegCo elections was an all-time low for any election being held in Hong Kong under Chinese rule, with 30.2 percent.
That can be compared to the 58.3 percent that voted in the same elections 2016, or the more than 71 percent of all eligible voters that gave the pro-democracy camp a sweeping victory in the 2019 local elections of almost 90% of the district councils seats up for grabs.
For many, the stunning 2019 establishment election defeat was the main reason for the postponement of the LegCo elections, and the drastic overhaul of the election laws leading up to yesterday.
From now on, only elections with Hong Kong characteristics will be allowed to take place.
This week’s cartoon can be viewed in full size via this link.
A full collection of Kludd-Niklas’ works for Kinamedia can be seen here.