Frustrated Hong Kongers take to social media in protest of today’s election

EVERYDAY Hong Kongers are expressing their unhappiness with today’s chief executive election by taking to social media.

A project by the Add Oil Team, a Hong Kong based artist collective, has sprung up on Facebook with members of the 7.3 million-strong Hong Kong population streaming live what they are doing today rather than hitting the polls.

The former British colony follows an unusual voting process. Only 1,194 people are able to cast a ballot, far less than the city’s 3.8 million registered voters.

This select group of Hong Kong’s elite consists of millionaires and billionaires, including all 70 members of the city’s legislature and some district politicians, business groups, professional unions, pop stars, priests and professors. The Election Committee has been accused of being fiercely loyal to Beijing.

The notion of leaving the voting to this select group of privileged Hong Kongers has left many dismayed that citizens in the semi-autonomous state have no say in who runs the city.
In protest to this, the Add Oil Team has set up a website to broadcast all of the videos coming in from everyday people.

“On the morning of 26, March 2017, 30 months after the Occupy Movement, a new Chief Executive of Hong Kong will be elected by a mere 0.03% of the population. The rest will be watching 1194 people entering the polling station on TV screens to decide their fate,” the website reads.

For many in Hong Kong, social media is the only way to have a voice in an election that has been dubbed as largely “undemocratic.”

“It is pretty much controlled by the Beijing government and I don’t want to give credibility to an undemocratic system,” political activist Nathan Law told the Financial Times.

Carrie Lam, a Beijing-favourite, is expected to win despite popular choice John Tsang leading the opinion polls throughout the race.

Stood atop a double decker bus at a rally on Friday, Tsang addressed these concerns stating: “Many people are complaining they do not have a vote. They say apart from giving a like or a comment (on social media), there’s not much you can do.”

“But still, I want your support … I’m not coming out to be elected by 1,200 electors. The chief executive is the leader of 7.3 million people.”

“Without the approval of the people, what meaning is there?” he said.

The polls in Sunday’s election have now closed with Lam coming out victorious with 777 of the 1,194 votes.

John Tsang, the popular choice, trailed with only 365, with third candidate Woo Kwok-hing lagging behind at only 21, according to local news network Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP).


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