Elections in Hong Kong will be postponed for a year; Opposition: Continued political repression

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has announced she will postpone the Legislative Council elections this year, citing an increase in the number of corona cases. The move is expected to provoke harsh international reactions against the erosion of rapid political freedom in the special Chinese province. The election was scheduled for September 6.

Lam informed reporters that after recording more than 100 infections a day for ten consecutive days, Hong Kong is facing a serious public-health situation. She noted the dangers of the virus spreading among 4.4 million voters on Election Day, saying people stuck on the Chinese side of the border and abroad would not be able to vote. The rejection comes after a month of high tensions between opposition organizations in the city and government, New, suppressing the anti-government protest that challenged Beijing’s authority.

Prominent Beijing-backed politicians have called for the postponement of the election for public health reasons, but the opposition claims the decision is part of the new political repression. Pro-democratic organizations awaited elections so that the public could express their dissatisfaction with national security law, and to gain a majority in the Legislative Council for the first time since the transfer of sovereignty over the city to China in 1997, and to gain authority to disrupt government initiatives.

“This is the hardest decision I have had to make in the last seven months,” Lam said. “There are no political considerations here. I have been very busy monitoring the state of the virus in recent days, and I have barely had time to follow the political race.”

The postponement of the election could lead to retaliatory measures by governments that have already criticized China’s aggressive efforts to gain more control over Hong Kong. The foreign ministers of Australia, Britain and the United States have said in the past that they will closely monitor the Hong Kong parliamentary elections.

Last Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a joint statement with Defense Secretary Mark Asper and Australian Foreign and Defense Ministers that “our support is given to Hong Kong residents who can elect members of the Legislative Council in a truly free and fair election on September 6.”

White House Press Secretary Kylie McNanny condemned the postponement of the election on Friday, calling it “the latest on a list of promises that Beijing is a growing coward.”

“This action undermines the democratic process and the freedoms that underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity,” McNanny said.

Public health experts say there is no justification for a one-year postponement, citing measures that could reduce the risk of infection, including social distance at the polls and extended voting hours. South Korea held general elections in April, and Singapore – also a financial center like Hong Kong – held elections in July, after a few weeks’ closure.

On Tuesday she told her mother that the electoral process in Singapore is very different from that of Hong Kong. For example, Singapore citizens can vote in the country’s consulates abroad, and Singapore also allows propaganda broadcasts on television, which is forbidden in Hong Kong. Elections were postponed because of the plague.

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