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Don't slander the IQ of Hong Kong voters | Updated: 2021-12-19 11:43
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Photo taken on March 12, 2021 shows the exterior of the headquarters of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, south China. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hong Kong's Legislative Council election just kicked off.

Voters from all walks of life across the administrative region are heading to 657 polling stations and casting their votes. They are going to pick talented people among candidates with different backgrounds and different political views to run the city on their behalf and tackle real problems with practical solutions.

Voters know that the new electoral system can ensure that reformers improve the efficiency of the government, experts solve practical problems and representatives of public opinion stand out, brightening the city's future and getting "vetocracy" and "filibuster" out of politics.

LegCo candidates are paying close attention to the voting process anxiously, waiting for the election results to be announced. They have stood on the streets, faced the community, listened to the public's opinions and put forward political guidelines, hoping to have a better idea of what people think and want. They hope to win the support of voters and be given opportunities to offer advice so as to make the economy more dynamic, improve the people's livelihood and increase fairness in society.

A total of 51 candidates from the Election Committee constituency debated publicly on the live election forum and put forward solutions on specific issues such as the aging population, young people's difficulties in buying homes, labor shortages and the city's international status. This is unprecedented. They know that radical and empty political slogans and seditious activities cannot deceive voters. The new electoral system can ensure that the elected members are people of insight and can achieve good governance.

The Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Hong Kong Police Force are closely monitoring and supervising the electoral process against any violations to ensure that it is clean and fair. They know that some foreign forces are constantly interfering in the polls, stigmatizing the election as "election without election"; some disruptors spread rumors overseas in an attempt to sabotage the election; a few local saboteurs are also setting up roadblocks.

The ICAC has arrested several people suspected of violating the election law. The suspects forwarded posts online that incited the public to cast blank votes in the election. The Hong Kong police have made all-round deployments to ensure that the election process is safe, orderly and smooth.

The evidence shows that Hong Kong people are full of enthusiasm and expectations for the Legislative Council under the new election system. Those foreign forces and overseas saboteurs who try to interfere and sabotage the election are simply slandering the IQ of Hong Kong voters.

We must not underestimate how much Hong Kong people cherish democracy and their recognition of the new electoral system. Under more than 150 years British colonial rule, Hong Kong did not have democracy and of course, there were no elections. Only after Hong Kong returned to the motherland did the city have democracy and elections; Hong Kong people could vote for their chief executive and legislative council members. It is China that promotes democracy in its special administrative region.

The United Kingdom and the United States call themselves "democracy lighthouses" but they are actually not qualified to have that label and make irresponsible remarks about Hong Kong. People of Hong Kong are well aware of the origin and direction of democracy in their city. They know that democracy is hard won, which makes them cherish all the more the right to vote. They know the importance of elections for the future of the city and their lives. They will not be fooled by slanders.

Hong Kong people's persistence and trust in democracy and elections also lie in the pain of democracy being hurt and elections being manipulated. From the Occupy Central movement, the turbulence in 2019, to the 2019 district council elections, foreign interfering forces and radical Hong Kong disruptors violated the rule of law, disrupted social order and used elections as a tool to paralyze the government and endanger national security, obstructing the democratic process.

The central government promoted and improved Hong Kong's democratic process through the improvement of the electoral system, ensuring that patriots administer Hong Kong and that the "one country, two systems" principle is stable and far-reaching.

The new election system not only filters out radical political ends, including those who disrupt Hong Kong and lazy politicians, but also solves the common problems of Hong Kong democracy, such as opposing for the sake of opposing and preventing the government from doing things for the people, and talking about ideology instead of providing practical solutions.

As a result, democratic space has expanded. LegCo member seats have increased from 70 to 90 and election channels have expanded. The three channels — the Election Committee constituency, functional constituencies and geographical constituencies — can select more quality talent for governing Hong Kong; public representation has been enriched, encompassing all walks of life.

Most importantly, the new election system ensures the true essence of democracy; that is, whether it can bring about equality in the socioeconomic field, whether it can improve the effectiveness of voters' political participation, whether it can make it easier for the government to do its work, and whether democratic strategies such as decentralization, checks and balances are met. In this way, campaigns become positive energy to promote social progress, rather than becoming negative assets like in the West.

Hong Kong people are seeing these with their own eyes, so they have firm confidence in Hong Kong's democratic process and the LegCo election. They are earnestly fulfilling their democratic rights and they are selecting talented people who can manage their home better.

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