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Editorial: A single no is a symbol of democracy? | Apple Daily Hong Kong

By Li Ping

Since the mass resignation of the pan-democrats in the Legislative Council following the disqualification of four pan-democrats by the government last November, the Legislative Council has seen several comedic scenarios where there is only a single vote of objection when the chamber votes, including the Budget, the second amendment to the rules of procedure, and the oath-taking of civil servants. What a scene that Carrie Lam is happy to see, one in which the authorities’ motions and bills are passed without obstacles, and she could take this one vote of objection to proclaiming that there is democracy in Hong Kong. But this one vote of objection is not proportional to mainstream public opinion. Rather than calling it a symbol of democracy, it is more like a humiliation of democracy. If the CCP wants to win recognition on the international level, at least perform the same thing as it did with cultivating the eight major democratic parties in the mainland, and go ahead and groom eight major democratic parties or some independent politicians in Hong Kong.

Recently, the political show of a single vote of objection has been performed in the Legislative Council. It is still different from the only vote of objection in the history of the CCP. The scariest story was that of Zhang Dongxun, who cast the only vote of objection during the election of Mao Zedong as the chairman of the central government at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 1949, whose family was all killed. In 2013, Xi Jinping also received one vote of objection during his election as the president; In 2020, during the vote on the Hong Kong National Security Law at the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress, there was also one vote of objection. Whether the CCP went after these last two votes of objection, we will never know. At most, some would have praised the courage of these voters, but nobody would use this to prove that the CCP has democracy, or to deny the rubber stamp nature of the National People’s Congress.

Contrarily, the common occurrence of the single vote of no in the Hong Kong Legislative Council is not an act of courage, but as praised by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the CCP last year as a “wise move”. This wise move has amplified immensely the problem of the disproportionate “opposing voices” and “opposing votes” within the Legislative Council in comparison to mainstream public opinion. To put it more seriously, with the support of the pro-CCP lawmakers, the authorities have forgone the legislative consultation process, ignored public opinion, and rushed to pass bills and legislatures. This is no different from rape of public opinion. And such disproportionate objections are simply a means to justify the authorities’ rape of public opinion. As such, the ‘yes’ votes are rubber stamps, and the ‘no’ votes are an additional stamp of democracy on the rubber. This is not a symbol of democracy, but the humiliation of mainstream public opinion and democracy.

The CCP and Hong Kong Commies need the votes of objection in the Hong Kong Legislative Council to paint democratic colors on the Legislative Council for the international community and to whitewash Hong Kong’s one country, two systems. If there is no seat, or even just one seat, in the Legislative Council after the election in December, they will not be able to explain to the international society how this new electoral system is reflecting the wishes of Hongkongers. This is also different from the CCP’s united front strategy of grooming eight major democratic parties in mainland China. The CCP is also painting some democratic pictures, but also stresses multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the party. It does not allow the democratic parties to cast votes of objection in the election of national leaders or major bills.

Currently, under the leadership of the CCP, there are eight minor democratic parties, including the China Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, the China Democratic League, the China Democratic National Construction Association, the China Association for the Promotion of Democracy, the Chinese Peasants and Workers’ Democratic Party, the China Zhi Gong Dang, the Jiusan Society, and the Taiwan Democratic Self-government League. Among them, six of the chairpersons are vice-chairmen of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, and two are vice-chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. However, another important sector in the CCP’s united front system that has not appeared in Hong Kong’s new election committee — individuals without party affiliation.

Democratic parties, the Federation of Industry and Commerce, and individuals without party affiliation are the three pillars of the CCP’s united front strategy. In February, when Xi Jinping met with people outside of the party during Chinese New Year, those who participated were the leaders of the democratic parties, the representatives from the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and individuals without party affiliation. In recent years, before the Central Economic Work Conference, Xi Jinping has also hosted symposiums to solicit suggestions from the democratic parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and individuals without party affiliation. Al full-on show of respect, that is. However, on the CCP’s list of individuals without party affiliation, the known ones are only late Vice Premier Guo Moruo, and the late Vice-Chairman of the National People’s Congress Cheng Siyuan. In 2005, after the death of Cheng Siyuan, no other non-partisan person in the country has made the list of national leaders, other than economist Lin Yifu and a handful of others that are highly regarded by the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.

While the pro-democracy parties such as the Democratic Party are still debating whether or not to participate in the December Legislative Council election, the CCP forces will inevitably be making efforts to support those individuals with no party affiliation that meet its requirements, including professionals and scholars, to stand for election as independent candidates. They will be groomed to cast timely votes of affirmation and votes of objection to change the quasi farce of the single vote of objection. They will be recognized internationally and in the Hong Kong society, and most definitely be just as good as the so-called new democratic party that is separated from the Democratic Party or Civic Party. However, the degree of parliamentary democracy depends on whether the distribution of seats is proportional to public opinion, and not whether there are one or eight votes of objection.

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