Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - On the eve of the District council polls, the first since the anti-government protests began, Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, released a video message on Youtube inviting the whole population and especially young people to vote on support of democracy and the "one country, two systems" principle, which has guaranteed Hong Kong a liberal society, different from that of China.
The electoral appointment falls at a time when the situation is tense due to the anti-extradition demonstrations, the siege of the PolyU by the police, and the violence that hit some candidates during the election campaign.
Because of this, many pro-Beijing representatives of the Executive council have insisted for the elections to be postponed. Instead, the elections will be held tomorrow starting at 7.30. But the police have announced that in every seat there will be at least two policemen in anti-riot gear, although their presence is feared by pro-democracy groups, who accuse them of violence and disregard of the law in these months of demonstrations. Society is divided between pro-Beijing parties and personalities and pro-democracy ones.
Card Zen, invited everyone, especially Catholics, to civic responsibility to go and vote.
He said that in these district elections one must keep in mind not only to obtain good services for the citizens [district councils take care of the neighborhood services], but also to support the democratic dimension. "In recent years - he added - we have seen Hong Kong's spaces of viability and autonomy eroded, which in a wise way had been inscribed in the formula ‘one country, two systems’”.
The pro-Beijing groups fear a landslide victory for the Democrats. This would be mainly due to the bad publicity self-inflicted by the government with the extradition law and police violence. There is also another fact: in these elections another 400 thousand voters were registered, the majority of which are young people under the age of 29. In general, this age group supports the democratic movement.