Message from Hong Kong: I can only dream of free elections

Opinion Message from Hong Kong

I can only dream of free elections

Glacier Kwong

Coyle: Getty Images

On Sunday the “election” took place in Hong Kong. But the winner will not represent the locals, but the regime in Beijing. I have often imagined what a real choice might look like. Without international pressure it would remain a dream.

aOn Sunday, an “election” was held in Hong Kong in which all candidates were screened by Beijing for loyalty to the regime. Hong Kong residents were asked to vote to approve the new electoral system. But this is basically a pure selection process, where votes are meaningless.

Those who went to vote on Sunday only gave the system a semblance of legitimacy. Because whoever wins the election will not be able to represent the people of Hong Kong (Editor’s note: Turnout for Sunday’s controversial vote dropped to 30.2 percent. Five years ago, 58.3 percent voted).

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I have often imagined what elections in Hong Kong might look like. In my imagination I’ll be there – I’ll organize campaigns, make sure my candidates are ready, hand out flyers on the street and frantically analyze survey data. It would be exhausting, but at the same time satisfying.

I will also be able to vote for myself – someone who can fairly represent me. After a long day, I was hitting the acne center and waiting for the results. People there will be friends and colleagues. We were talking and complaining about the day and the time it took to count the votes.

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Once the results come in, I will definitely cry. It doesn’t matter whether Gwyneth He – the candidate I worked with and a very dear friend – wins or loses.

But this will remain a dream. The candidates I’ve worked with or would like to vote with are all in prison. They were arrested under the National Security Act for participating in last year’s Democratic camp primaries in which more than 610,000 citizens voted.

The savior promise of democracy

In the joint declaration, Hong Kong secured free elections by both the United Kingdom and China. We were promised that we could enjoy a high degree of independence, maintain our way of life and live in a true democracy.

The treaty is deposited with the United Nations so that all countries have joint oversight and responsibility with the United Kingdom for its implementation. However, we were not allowed to maintain our way of life – let alone live in a true democracy.

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Foreign officials have made statements in the media expressing their concerns about the situation in Hong Kong. The world is slowly changing the way it treats Beijing. However, I often feel frustrated and angry because every victory comes with a loss.

My friends are still locked up and some of them are being followed. I can’t help but wonder: If the world had acted sooner rather than waiting until now for explanations – would that make a difference?

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If all democratic nations took responsibility as they promised and did their best to fight tyranny – wouldn’t I be able to meet my friends in person rather than carry Christmas cards from prison and read them over and over to look for letters I might have missed the first time he read?

I’m not sure, but I hope that one day my dream of free elections will come true and countries will take action against human rights abuses in Hong Kong and other parts of China.

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