AP

Nearly 600,000 vote in Hong Kong pro-democracy primaries

Jul 12, 2020, 9:38 AM
Nearly 600,000 vote in Hong Kong pro-democracy primaries...
People queue up to vote in Hong Kong Sunday, July 12, 2020, in an unofficial primary for pro-democracy candidates ahead of legislative elections in September. Over 200,000 Hong Kongers voted in an unofficial Hong Kong primary that will help the pro-democracy camp decide which candidates to field in legislative elections in September. The turnout exceeded organizers' estimates that some 170,000 people would turn up to vote over the weekend. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

HONG KONG (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.

The primaries were held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.

Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to vote despite a warning last week by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang, that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.

Organizers dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.

The new law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.

On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primaries. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.

To hold the primaries, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law, the city’s leader must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.

Organizers said Sunday that nearly 600,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a turnout of 170,000.

“Despite the threat of the national security law, there are still nearly 600,000 people coming out to vote, ” said Au Nok-hin, one of the organizers of the primaries. “We can see Hong Kongers are really brave.”

Today’s Top Stories

AP

TikTok shown on a phone. TikTok is proving influential in poliitics...
DAVID KLEPPER Associated Press

TikTok politics: Candidates turn to it ‘for better or worse’

TikTok isn't just about viral dance challenges anymore, but also a place to shop, learn about beauty, fashion or even politics.
3 days ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...
ADRIANA GOMEZ-LICON Associated Press

Ian returns to hurricane status, meanwhile floods trap many in Florida

Hours after weakening to a tropical depression while crossing the Florida peninsula, Ian regained hurricane strength Thursday evening after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean.
4 days ago
An uprooted tree, toppled by strong winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Ian, rests in a parking...
CURT ANDERSON Associated Press

Ian makes landfall in southwest Florida as Category 4 storm

About 2.5 million people had been ordered to evacuate the area before the storm hit the coast on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 kph).
5 days ago
The White House to ask for less money to fund border wall...
ACACIA CORONADO and GISELA SALOMON Associated Press

Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US

Last month, Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the U.S. border after Mexicans.
7 days ago
In Iran, protests have led to violent clashes between citizens and security forces. Protesters pict...
The Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

The scope of Iran's ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, still remains unclear as protesters in more than a dozen cities.
10 days ago
U.S. Capitol pictured. The House just voted on an election law...
MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

House passes election law overhaul in response to Jan. 6

The bill, which is similar to bipartisan legislation moving through the Senate, would overhaul an arcane 1800s-era statute known as the Electoral Count Act
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Nearly 600,000 vote in Hong Kong pro-democracy primaries