Hong Kong By The Numbers

[based upon SCMP]  On May 1, 2005, the by-elections were held to pick 27 members of the 800-strong Election Committee that will choose the next Chief Executive on July 10.  Of the 27 slots, 12 were uncontested, and 15 were actually selected on this day.  The 15 contested positions come from 9 special sectors of society for which there were approximately 47,000 eligible voters.

At the end of the day, 7,094 (or 14.95 percent) votes had been cast.  This was down from the 19.49% from the general election in 2000 and the 18.63% from the by-elections in 2002.  The enthusiasm level is reported as:

There was little fanfare or heated canvassing among candidates, and even the democratic camp, which had put up nine hopefuls, was short of publicity stunts. Some hopefuls made last-minute phone calls or sent text messages to drum up support, but others just gave up.


Electoral Affairs Commission chief Justice Woo Kwok-hing said it would be wrong to describe the turnout as poor. "I don't think it has to do with inadequate promotion. Another explanation is that as this is a long weekend, many registered voters may have gone away."

The lack of enthusiasm may be interpreted as due to the "small circle" nature of an unrepresentative election system.  This is not a direct election based upon universal sufferage.  It is based upon disproportionate allocations based upon socio-economic-political functional sectors.  Furthermore, the term of the current Election Commission expires on July 13 sothat  these elected voters will get to vote once and only once for the Chief Executive on July 10.

And what about that Chief Executive election?  The race does not appear to be anywhere near close, which explains the voter apathy about these by-elections.

As reported in the print edition of Sing Tao daily, between April 24 and 28, the City Think Tank conducted a telephone survey of more than 900 respondents.  The following are the support levels for the next Chief Executive:

Donald Tsang's performance as the interim Chief Executive is rated as follows:

As to why people with government administrative backgrounds such as Donald Tsang and Anson Chan are heavily favored over people with backgrounds in political parties, the survey results say:

These numbers present huge problems for the declared candidate Lee Wing-tat.  If you accept ShiuShiu's script (see The Pan-Democrats and the Chief Executive Election in Hong Kong) on how to show the absurdity of the "small circle" election system:

This candidate must be able defeat Donald Tsang on the issues, such that his/her popular support exceeds that of Donald Tsang.  If during the actual election, this candidate loses to Donald Tsang by a huge ratio, then this will highlight the absurdity of the election system.

Instead, this candidate has a 1.2% support in a general population survey.  There is no reason why this candidate deserves the 100 (=12.5%) nominating votes from the 800-strong Election Committee to even run in that election.  If anything, this candidate reinforces the idea that "the political parties in Hong Kong are poor-quality."  

So far, Lee Wing-tat has issued a political platform with 10 key issues, but they were not listed or analyzed in detail by the media.  For example, Ming Pao (via Yahoo! News) only mentioned: strive for direct elections in 2007; defend "one country two systems"; protect human rights and judiciary independence; universal education; rational use of health/medical resources; promote fair competition; improve unemployment; assisting the poor; promoting gender equality; protecting the environment; etc.  The first issue is predictable for the Democratic Party but it is a hopeless quest, and the other issues are givens.  After all, who is going to promote unfair competition, or pollute the environment, or discriminate against women?  Legislative Councilor Albert Cheng, a member of the pan-democratic camp, bluntly criticized Lee's platform as lacking in creativity and originality, and came up with this quotable one-sentence summary: "My mom is a woman" (阿媽係女人).  Immediately, on the next day, Albert Cheng reversed himself and praised that same platform, which is even worse sarcasm/cynicism.

One is the total number of citizens who asked Lee Wing-tat a question at his first public rally in Mongkok for his election platform.  The rally was held on the busy pedestrian mall on Sai Yeung Choi Street.  According to Ming Pao (via Yahoo! News), a citizen asked why Lee was running when Donald Tsang seemed so popular with the citizenry.  Lee replied, "The most important thing about elections is the competition.  Apart from the results, we must also pay attention to the platforms and principles."  Sing Tao pointed out that the questioner was in fact a member of Lee's Democratic Party.

Ah, but we are talking about May 1st, the Workers International Solidarity Day, when workers go out on the streets to march for their rights.  From SCMP:

On May Day, it is common to sing The Internationale.  The "Internationale" is the song of the Paris "Commune" of 1871. On September 4, 1870, the republic was proclaimed in Paris, and from March 18 to May 28, 1871, workers and radical citizens established the "Commune", propagating radical reforms like legislation by the workers, equal rights for women, a Proletarian People's Militia, controled prices and compulsory attendance of schools.  Eugène Pottier wrote the original French lyrics shortly after the defeat of the communards; his verses were set to music by Pierre Degeyter in 1888.

In the following, the Chinese and English lyrics are shown with the original full French version.  The Chinese and English versions are truncations with a significant number of lines being omitted.  This is understandably so, since some of the deletions are about the specific French situation on the State, the Law and the King.

Debout , les damnés de la terre
Debout , les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère ,
C'est l'éruption de la faim.
Du passé faisons table rase ,
Foule esclave , debout , debout
Le monde va changer de base ,
Nous ne sommes rien , soyons tout.

C'est la lutte finale ;
Groupons nous et demain
Sera le genre humain.

Il n'est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu , ni César , ni Tribun ,
Producteurs , sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrètons le salut commun .
Pour que le voleur rende gorge ,
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot ,
Souflons nous-même notre force ,
Battons du fer tant qu'il est chaud.

L'Etat comprime et la Loi triche ,
L'impôt saigne le malheureux ;
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche ;
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez languir en tutelle ,
L'Egalité veut d'autres lois ;
"Pas de droits sans devoirs , dit-elle
Egaux pas de devoirs sans droits ".

Hideux dans leur apothéose ,
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail ?
Dans les coffres-forts de la banque
Ce qu'il a crée s'est fondu ,
En décrétant qu'on le lui rende ,
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.

Les rois nous saoûlaient de fumée ,
Paix entre nous , guerre aux Tyrans
Appliquons la grève aux armées ,
Crosse en l'air et rompons les rangs !
S'ils s'obstinent ces cannibales
A faire de nous des héros ,
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux.

Ouvriers , paysans , nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs ,
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes,
L'oisif ira loger aileur .
Combien de nos chairs se repaissent !
Mais si les corbeaux , les vautours ,
Un de ces matins disparaissent ,
Le soleil brillera toujours. 

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Arise, ye wretched of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation,
A better world's in birth.
No more, tradition's chains shall bind us,
Arise ye slaves, no more in thrall.
The earth shall rise on new foundations,
We have been naught, we shall be all.

'Tis the final conflict,
Let us stand in our place.
The international working class
Shall be the human race!

We want no condescending saviors
To rule us from a judgment hall.
We workers ask not for their favors,
We must consult for all.
To make the thief disgorge his booty,
To free the spirit from the cell,
We must ourselves decide our duty,
We must decide and do it well!