This screengrab shows Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, addressing the launching ceremony of the Hong Kong Chronicles - "Hong Kong's participation in the country's reform and opening up" via video, Dec 6, 2021.
HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s new electoral system, which aims to maximally balance the interests of various sectors and broadly represent their voices, will open a new chapter of democratic development in the city, the nation’s top official in charge of Hong Kong affairs said on Monday.
Xia Baolong’s remarks came about two weeks ahead of the city’s Legislative Council election on Dec 19 — the second major election under the city’s revamped electoral system.
Addressing a local activity in a video speech, Xia, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, elaborated that Hong Kong’s new electoral system has many advantages, such as broad representation, political inclusiveness, balanced participation, and fair competition.
The new electoral system with remarkable advantages will help elections return to healthy competition and better serve Hong Kong people’s benefits, said Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office
He added that the backgrounds of the candidates in the upcoming legislative election are “unprecedentedly diverse”, adding that the candidates include many grassroots people, such as bus drivers, electricians, and tenants of public housing and subdivided units — something rarely seen in previous elections.
He added that the blind pursuit of Western-style democracy has little helped Hong Kong’s democracy development, but only caused crises of social polarization, vicious competition, economic imbalance, and ineffective governance, which led to social turbulence such as the anti-extradition-bill unrest in 2019.
The new electoral system with remarkable advantages will help elections return to healthy competition and better serve Hong Kong people’s benefits, Xia said.
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In a statement, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor thanked Xia for expounding on the four characteristics of the LegCo election following the improvement of the electoral system of Hong Kong.
Over the past few years, the chaos in the HKSAR legislature brought about by the inability to ensure 'patriots administering Hong Kong' was clearly seen in Hong Kong society, Lam said.
"The legislature was paralysed, the governance of the HKSAR government was disrupted, economic developments were affected and even national security was endangered, posing risks to social stability," she said.
The improvement to the electoral system aims to implement the fundamental principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong", ensuring that members of the LegCo are patriotic and act in the interests of the country's development and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, she said.
"On the basis of patriotism, candidates of the seventh-term Legislative Council come from across the political spectrum and are diverse and broadly representative," she said.
The HKSAR government hopes to work together with members of the new term of the Legislative Council to usher in a new era of good governance in Hong Kong, Lam added.
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In the Dec 19 election, 153 people will compete for 90 seats, and 4.4 million voters are expected to cast their votes in over 600 polling stations.
In July, Xia also delivered a speech during a public activity in Beijing, in which he underlined the significance of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, and elaborated on the desired qualities of future administrators of the city.
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