Hong Kong prodemocracy movement loses ground
HONG KONG (AP) â€” Hong Kong pro-democracy candidates won back only two of four seats in a crucial by-election in the semiautonomous Chinese region, final results showed Monday.
The results mean the opposition wasn't able to recapture all its territory, losing some to formidably resourced pro-Beijing rivals in the city's semi-democratic legislature.
The four seats were among six left empty when a group of lawmakers were expelled following a 2016 controversy over their oaths, which they used to defy China.
Little-known activist Au Nok-hin won a key battleground. He was enlisted at the last minute after officials rejected the pro-democracy camp's marquee candidate, 21-year-old Agnes Chow, for her party's political platform.
The disqualifications of lawmakers and candidates have raised fears among activists and international groups that Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government is taking an increasingly hard line on dissent.
"I won't say the result today is a victory," Au said after his results were announced. "I would say it's only a hollow victory, because we've paid a rather high price for it. The democracy camp has faced huge suppressions due to the political turmoil in these years."
Au had called the vote a referendum on democracy in Hong Kong, but the prospect of democratic development looks increasingly distant after China's rubber-stamp parliament voted Sunday to abolish presidential term limits, allowing President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.Read More...