How Hong Kong’s ‘Patriots Only’ Elections Strengthen Beijing’s Grip

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Only a handful of all the candidates running this year have described themselves as “pro-democracy” and they share one thing in common: they notice Beijing’s red lines.

They have avoided political positions that could lead to their disqualification or imprisonment, such as demanding independence for Hong Kong or foreign sanctions against Hong Kong authorities.

In Hong Kong’s new electoral landscape, the absence of major opposition has led to a different political twist: Beijing’s delegates and allies are offering some support to such external candidates. But support is only there to help carry out the rigorous candidacy program to get to the polls, not to win votes on election day.

A pro-democracy candidate, Wong Sing-chi, said he believed it was important to fight for democracy by continuing in office, even if the system was flawed. He said that if elected, non-violent protesters imprisoned would be called upon to reduce the use of the National Security Act, which abolished amnesty and protest.

A former member of the Democratic Party, Mr. Wong said he had been asked twice this year by the liaison office of the federal government, Beijing’s increasingly determined faction, whether he would run. But he said he decided to compete alone. After he did so, he was given a powerful impetus by the pro-Beijing voice on the election committee, Lo Mon-duen, who helped him get enough nominations to run in the election.

“I totally not their cup of tea, but they want me to run, so there will be some other voices,” Mr said. Wong said.

Adrian Love, who won a seat on district councils during the pro-democracy wave in 2019, said he was running for the legislature because some voters did not trust pro-Beijing politicians.

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