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Hong Kong Chief Executive Election: The Pig, the Wolf or Blank Vote?

The Hong Kong Chief Executive “election” is about to take place on March 25, 2012. The 1,200 privileged election committee members have to choose between Henry Tang, nicknamed “Pig” by the Hong Kong press and Chung-ying Leung nicknamed “Wolf”, both of whom have been endorsed by the Beijing government as acceptable candidates. To protest against the undemocratic election system, the civil society is urging the election committee members to give up their privilege and cast a blank vote.

Sin-ming Shaw from Project Syndicate explained the background of the two candidates. Here comes Henry Tang, the ‘Pig':

Tang, the mild-mannered scion of a textile magnate whose father is a confidant of China’s former leader, Jiang Zemin, committed two elementary mistakes. The first was not confessing quickly enough to his having mistresses, one of whom has a college-age offspring whose father is probably Tang… The second error was even more inane. Local papers discovered that he had illegally built a large, deluxe wine cellar with a spa beneath one of his mansions. As a senior public servant, he knew that the construction was illegal, and that he should have taken remedial steps to legalize his actions or to abandon it – a matter merely of money, of which he has plenty.

A satirical poster remixed by Facebook user Rex Lee at Tang's Earthquake Page

A satirical poster remixed by Facebook user Rex Lee at Tang's Earthquake Page

As for the ‘Wolf', C.Y Leung:

The tycoons fear that Leung’s deeply old-fashioned communist values would hurt their oligopolies. The press finds him evasive. The intelligentsia is wary of him as an underground Communist Party member, something that he has denied. And civil servants believe that Leung harbors resentment of Hong Kong’s British colonial legacy, of which the civil service is the most visible.

As Tang's personal scandal is more conspicuous to ordinary people, his popularity has fallen sharply behind Leung. At the same time, local pro-Beijing groups are spreading the news that C.Y Leung has become Beijing's designated future Chief Executive.

Frustrated by his opponent's attack and out of desperation, in a pubic debate on March 16, Tang revealed that C.Y Leung had supported the implementation of Basic Law Article 23 (the so-called national security legislation) by force and was ready to crack down on protesters with riot police and tear gas in 2003. He also revealed that Leung had pressured the Hong Kong government to shorten the license term of a local commercial radio in order to pressurise the media outlet to self-censor their programs.

Disturbed by the news, more and more people supported the ABC position, which means, Anyone-But-C.Y. Leung. Supporters of ABC have been urging the election committee members to do either of the following: 1) to vote for Albert Ho, a token candidate of the pan-democratic alliance who is not acceptable to the Beijing government; 2) to cast a blank vote or give up their vote; 3) to vote for Henry Tang who is unlikely to win as he has revealed government internal discussion to the public.

A major mobilization has been called upon by a civic coalition of more than 30 non-governmental organizations. They urge [zh] the election committee members to cast blank votes:

今年的「特首選戰」只是一場鬧劇,各候選人雖然都提出不同的政綱,但在過程中沒有諮詢並排拒基層市民的參與,更選擇性地接見有權勢有選票的團體。這突顯不論誰人當選,行政長官都只會為一小撮特權階級服務。更荒謬的是,主要候選人只透過互揭醜聞作政治宣傳手段,除顯示當權者缺乏政治誠信外,只不過是富豪階級及大財團的利益代言人,當選後只會將利益向金融資本和大商家輸送,而民間團體及普羅市民一直爭取的社會議題,最終只會石沉大海。

The CE election is nothing but a farce. All candidates have put forward their so-called policy plan but there isn't any consultation and they have excluded ordinary people from participation. During their campaign, they have selectively met only those groups that have voting privileges. No matter who wins, the CE will only serve a minority, the privileged class. More ridiculous is the fact that the election campaign has been dominated by scandals, the winner of the game will not have any integrity and he will only be the representative of tycoons and serve their interest by means of future government policy. Social reform agenda will be ignored.

我們現呼籲全港市民以不同形式站出來,以行動杯葛小圈子選舉,而手握一票的人士,以「不投票」的形式,洗淨身上特權的污垢。

We urge all Hong Kong citizens to stand up and boycott the election. Those who have the privilege to vote, should give up such privilege.
Profile picture of the Hong Kong Federation of Student Union's mobilization page

Profile picture of the Hong Kong Federation of Student Union's mobilization page

The Federation of Student Union has organized an overnight protest on the night of March 24. Below is an excerpt from their mobilization statement, via Facebook [zh]:

近日,社會輿論都集中在候選人的醜聞和私人生活上,把特首選舉鬧得熱哄哄。傳媒每日上演著一幕幕選戰風雲,給予我們有選擇權的幻象。然而,這無非是一小撮利益集團的權力鬥爭。香港人既沒有投票權也沒有決定權,而基於候選人不必向市民直接負責的關係,一般港人也不會是下屆特首的主要服務對象。…我們希望透過是次行動,將社會近來聚焦的方向,由候選人的醜聞轉移回到問題的根本:制度的不公和小圈子選舉的不平等,從而喚起民眾的醒覺,理解到自己的公民權利被剝削,從而走上繼續爭取民主自由的道路。

Recently, the media reports on the CE election are all about scandals. The “election drama” has given people an illusion as if we have the right to choose. In reality it is just a power struggle within a small circle of powerful elites. The ordinary people of Hong Kong do not have the voting right to decide. The candidates are not endorsed by the people and thus the future C.E will not serve us… Through this action, we want to shift the focus back from the candidates’ scandals to the fundamental problem: the unjust and unequal election system. The people need to be aware of the fact that we are being deprived of our citizen rights and hence continue to strike for freedom and democracy.

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