November 24, 2019 / 5:41 AM / 16 days ago

Factbox: What Hong Kong voters say about district council elections

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Here are comments from voters, politicians and activists on Sunday in Hong Kong’s district council elections seen as a barometer of support for embattled leader Carrie Lam after nearly six months of protests.

Voters queue to vote at a polling station during district council local elections in Hong Kong, China November 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Hundreds queued at polling stations, looking to vote early and avoid ballot disruptions if violence erupts.

Some speakers sought anonymity, or gave only part of their names, for fear of retribution.

KEVIN CHEUNG, 22, STUDENT AT CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG:

“Before the protests, I thought I knew nothing about government - that it was none of my business. After the protests began, I realised how they make Hong Kong worse.

“These protests have let many people know their rights and how to help Hong Kong. Most of the councillors are pro-Beijing. They help the government, not the citizens.”

JEREMY CHAN, 55, RESTAURANT MANAGER:

    “They believe they are fighting for democracy, fighting for Hong Kong, but the rioters only listen to what they want to hear. The freedom of speech is lost.

“The spirit of democracy is to listen to both sides. I hope the district councils will build up the Hong Kong economy. There are a lot of people who have lost their jobs.”

KEANE CHANG, 20, STUDENT:

“The government has to address the concerns and opinions raised by the majority of the public now, which is something it has not been doing since June. That’s why there is that much of a protest in Hong Kong.”

JIM, A VOTER:

“I used to not care about politics. But I started to learn that politics is everywhere from the social incidents in these months.

“There are more suicide cases than usual. There shouldn’t be any government that can cover this up, but there is, that is the Chinese government.”

JOSHUA WONG, PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST DISQUALIFIED AS CANDIDATE:

“As the only candidate disqualified by Beijing, (that) proves the election in Hong Kong is being manipulated by the Communist authorities.

“However, even they if censored me out of the ballot, locked me up in prison, it would just encourage me to continue to fight for the future, with even stronger determination.

“I still urge people vote in the election, to show our discontent to Beijing.”

JIMMY SHAM, PRO-DEMOCRACY CANDIDATE ATTACKED BY HAMMER-WIELDING MEN IN OCTOBER:

“We can see Hongkongers are longing for a chance to express their stand. We don’t know yet, at the end of the day, if the democrats could win a majority. But I hope our Hong Kong citizens can vote for the future of Hong Kong.

“The true solution to stop violence is a democratic system, is a government that would truly listen to the people, to fulfill people’s demands.”

CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE:

“In the past few days, we have seen that Hong Kong society is relatively calm. Many people have expressed on the Internet or elsewhere that they cherish this kind of stability and calm.

“I hope this kind of stability and calm is not only for today’s district council election, but to show that everyone does not want Hong Kong to fall into a chaotic situation again, hoping to get out of this dilemma, and let us have a fresh start.”

Reporting by Greg Torode, Sharon Tam, Sarah Wu and Aleksander Solum; Editing by Jane Wardell and Clarence Fernandez

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