Every newly elected leader of Hong Kong takes the oath of office in front of China’s president, below a giant red national flag of China, and the slightly smaller banner of the city. It is a tightly scripted event designed to shield Chinese officials from the embarrassment of dissenting voices. In Hong Kong politics, formality is everything, and many say the election for the city’s next leader which happens on Sunday will indeed be a formality. Most expect Beijing’s preferred candidate to be anointed despite her rival being by far the more popular choice. … However, only 1,194 people are able to cast a ballot, far less than the city’s 3.8 million registered voters. Those who have a say include all 70 members of the city’s legislature and some district politicians, business groups, professional unions, pop stars, priests and professors.
“This is entirely controlled by the Beijing government, it’s a selection, not an election,” says Nathan Law, a pro-democracy legislator swept into office in the wake of 2014 street protests agitating for more open elections.
… The idea that Sunday’s vote is indeed “a selection, not an election” is a mantra repeated across the political spectrum, with many dismayed that citizens in the former British colony have no say in who runs the city.