China

Articles about voting issues in the People’s Republic of China.

China: Beijing’s Online Manipulation and Interference During the Election | Marcus Kolga/Epoch Times

Over the past three years, a growing din of alarm bells have warned us about the threat of Russian foreign influence campaigns against our elections, our media, and our democracy. Other malign totalitarian regimes have engaged in similar operations to manipulate our perceptions in efforts to polarize debate and divide us. China is no exception. Over the past weeks, a massive “state-backed information operation” targeting the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement and activists was detected and exposed by major social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, and Google. Twitter identified some 200,000 accounts, many of which “were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.” According to Twitter’s research, most of the accounts and their subversive activity has been “state-backed.” Based on a tip from Twitter, Facebook suspended several China-based accounts, groups, and pages that exposed thousands of Facebook users to disinformation aimed at undermining support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Full Article: Beijing’s Online Manipulation and Interference During the Election.

China: Telegram traces cyber-attack during Hong Kong protests to China | AFP

Encrypted messaging service Telegram suffered a major cyber-attack that originated from China, the company’s CEO said Thursday, linking it to the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong. Many protesters in the city have used Telegram to evade electronic surveillance and coordinate their demonstrations against a controversial Beijing-backed plan that would allow extraditions from the semi-autonomous territory to the mainland. Demonstrations descended into violence Wednesday as police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to storm the city’s parliament — the worst political crisis Hong Kong has seen since its 1997 handover from Britain to China. Telegram announced Wednesday that it was suffering a “powerful” Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which involves a hacker overwhelming a target’s servers by making a massive number of junk requests. It warned that users in many regions may face connection issues.

Full Article: Telegram traces cyber-attack during HK protests to China | AFP.com.

China: Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator barred from local election | Al Jazeera

Hong Kong authorities have barred a pro-democracy legislator from running in a local election due to his “implicit” support for Hong Kong’s independence from China, in what critics say is another instance of civil rights being eroded in the Beijing-ruled city. Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, 40, a former journalist and land activist, was democratically elected as one of Hong Kong’s 70 legislators in a 2016 election, winning more votes than any other candidate despite running as an independent. He had planned to contest a separate grassroots poll to represent a village in the rural hinterland of the New Territories. 

Full Article: Hong Kong pro-democracy legislator barred from local election | China News | Al Jazeera.

China: Hong Kong democrats fail to regain veto power in crucial by-election | Reuters

Hong Kong’s democratic opposition failed to win back a crucial legislative council seat in an election on Sunday that would have restored some of its veto power at a time when the China-ruled city’s freedoms are under strain. The democratic camp’s main candidate, Lee Cheuk-yan, lost to Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan, a pro-Beijing candidate backed by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), by around 13,000 votes, or about 6 percent of the total. Another democrat, Frederick Fung, who ran as an independent after a row with the opposition camp, split the vote to the benefit of the pro-establishment DAB.

Full Article: Hong Kong democrats fail to regain veto power in crucial by-election | Reuters.

China: Hong Kong moves to impose unprecedented ban on separatist party | The Guardian

Hong Kong is taking unprecedented steps to ban a pro-independence party, in the government’s strongest action yet against the movement pushing for separation from China. Police on Tuesday delivered documents to the Hong Kong National party founder, Andy Chan Ho-tin, detailing their recommendations to the city’s secretary of security that the group halt operations. The development marks the first time since the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule in 1997 that it has sought to outlaw a political organisation. A letter addressed to Chan said security officials believed the party should be shut down “in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”, according to photos of the documents posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Full Article: Hong Kong moves to impose unprecedented ban on separatist party | World news | The Guardian.

China: Could call to give vote to half a million Hongkongers in mainland China open door to voting rights for all citizens overseas? | South China Morning Post

The Hong Kong government has said it would consider giving voting rights to hundreds of thousands of citizens living over the border in mainland China, prompting the immediate question of whether this would be extended globally. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said at the weekly Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday that any arrangements for polling outside Hong Kong must be critically examined. “[We must consider things] such as how the polling and counting process could be effectively monitored as well as transportation of ballot papers and boxes to and from polling stations outside Hong Kong,” Nip said, adding that the relevant electoral legislation, any emergency risks and unforeseen incidents also had to be considered.

Full Article: Could call to give vote to half a million Hongkongers in mainland China open door to voting rights for all citizens overseas? | South China Morning Post.

China: Hong Kong government scraps plan to shorten voting hours after overwhelming public opposition | South China Morning Post

A government suggestion of shortening polling times for Hong Kong elections has been shelved after an overwhelming number of objections from people fearing the measure would strip shift workers of their voting rights. The development came on Tuesday as the administration submitted to the Legislative Council a report which wrapped up the results of a seven-week public consultation last year on three issues related to elections. While the government had said it was open to shortening polling hours – which normally last from 7.30am to 10.30pm – it suggested in the consultation paper that the move would help alleviate the fatigue suffered by candidates and electoral staff and ease the booking of venues.

Full Article: Hong Kong government scraps plan to shorten voting hours after overwhelming public opposition | South China Morning Post.

China: Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Bloc Loses Seats in Election | The New York Times

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers have lost two seats in the territory’s legislature, another setback for the bloc whose members were previously disqualified after modifying their oaths of office to defy Beijing. While the pro-democracy camp widely anticipated losing one of the four vacated seats up for a vote in Sunday’s by-election, a second loss, by a margin of just over 1 percent after a recount, was a less expected and more painful blow. The vote came on the same day that China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature approved a measure to drop term limits for president, clearing the way for President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. Hong Kong’s democracy advocates framed the vote in the semiautonomous territory as a way to stand up to the authoritarianism of China’s central government. What they were left with, however, was a further erosion of their already limited power.

Full Article: Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Bloc Loses Seats in Election - The New York Times.

China: Hong Kong election gauges city’s stomach for defying Beijing | Associated Press

Hong Kong residents voted Sunday in by-elections that give opposition supporters the chance to recapture lost ground in a contest measuring voters’ appetite for democracy in the semiautonomous Chinese city. The vote pitted pro-Beijing loyalists against opposition candidates competing for four seats in the city’s semi-democratic legislature. They’re among six seats left empty when a group of lawmakers were expelled following a 2016 controversy over their oaths, which they used to defy China. The ejected members included two advocating Hong Kong’s independence, something Chinese President Xi Jinping has called a “red line.”

Full Article: Hong Kong election gauges city’s stomach for defying Beijing - The Washington Post.

China: Hong Kong goes to polls in crunch vote for pro-democracy activists | AFP

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp will try to claw back lost seats as polls opened early Sunday in controversial by-elections that have exposed the heart of the city’s political divide. The vote comes as China signals a harder line against any challenges to its sovereignty, with high-profile young candidate Agnes Chow barred from standing because her party promotes self-determination for the semi-autonomous city. Beijing has become increasingly incensed at the emergence of activists advocating independence and sees calls for self-determination as part of a splittist push. The by-election was triggered after Beijing forced the disqualification of six rebel lawmakers who had swept to victory in citywide elections in 2016.

Full Article: World News: Hong Kong goes to polls in crunch vote for democrats.

China: Legislature Blesses Xi’s Indefinite Rule. It Was 2,958 to 2. | The New York Times

President Xi Jinping set China on course to follow his hard-line authoritarian rule far into the future on Sunday, when the national legislature lifted the presidential term limit and gave constitutional backing to expanding the reach of the Communist Party. Under the red-starred dome of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, nearly 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress, the party-controlled legislature, voted almost unanimously to approve an amendment to the Constitution to abolish the term limit on the presidency, opening the way for Mr. Xi to rule indefinitely. The amendment was among a set of 21 constitutional changes approved by the congress, which included passages added to the Constitution to salute Mr. Xi and his drive to entrench party supremacy.

Full Article: China’s Legislature Blesses Xi’s Indefinite Rule. It Was 2,958 to 2. - The New York Times.

China: Trump praises Chinese president extending tenure ‘for life’ | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday after the ruling Communist party announced it was eliminating the two-term limit for the presidency, paving the way for Xi to serve indefinitely, according to audio aired by CNN. “He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great,” Trump said, according to audio of excerpts of Trump’s remarks at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida aired by CNN.“And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters. It is not clear if Trump, 71, was making the comment about extending presidential service in jest. The White House did not respond to a request for comment late Saturday.

Full Article: Trump praises Chinese president extending tenure 'for life'.

China: Censors drown out critics of lifetime Xi presidency | AFP

China went into overdrive on Tuesday (Feb 27) to defend the Communist Party’s move to lift term limits for President Xi Jinping as criticism persisted on social media in defiance of censorship. The party has shocked many observers by proposing a constitutional amendment to end the two-term limit for president, giving Xi a clear path to rule the world’s second largest economy for life. Censors have scrambled to block critical comments on social media but users of the Twitter-like Weibo website continued to speak out on Tuesday, two days after the party’s announcement. “So pathetic, we have 1.3 billion people, no one can resist,” wrote one user.

Full Article: China drowns out critics of lifetime Xi presidency - Channel NewsAsia.

China: Xi term limit proposal sparks rare public dissent in China | Associated Press

In a rare public expression of dissent in China, a well-known political commentator and a prominent businesswoman have penned open letters urging lawmakers to reject a plan that would allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. Their impassioned statements on a popular messaging app were circulated widely after the ruling Communist Party announced a proposal Sunday to amend the constitution to scrap term limits on the president and vice president. In a statement Monday on WeChat to Beijing’s members of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, Li Datong, a former editor for the state-run China Youth Daily, wrote that lifting term limits would “sow the seeds of chaos.”

Full Article: Xi term limit proposal sparks rare public dissent in China - The Washington Post.

China: Ruling party proposes to abolish presidential term limits | Al Jazeera

China’s ruling party is considering scrapping term limits for the president and vice president, it announced on Sunday. The Communist party of China has proposed to change the country’s constitution so that the president and vice president can serve more than two consecutive terms. Currently, there is a limit of two five-year terms for both presidents and vice presidents. The amendment would allow current President Xi Jinping, 64, to be elected again during the next elections in 2023.

Full Article: China's ruling party proposes to abolish presidential term limits | News | Al Jazeera.

China: Hong Kong democracy activists walk free in appeal victory | AFP

Joshua Wong and two other leading Hong Kong democracy activists won an appeal against their jail terms at the city’s highest court Tuesday in a case seen as a test for the independence of the city’s judiciary, which some fear is under pressure from Beijing. But the trio warned it was not a time for celebration because the city still faced threats to its freedoms. Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were jailed in August last year for their role in the mass pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests of 2014 after Hong Kong’s government pushed for more severe sentences. A lower court had originally given Wong and Law community service orders and Chow a suspended sentence. But after the government’s intervention they were jailed for between six and eight months by the Court of Appeal. All three activists were later bailed pending their appeal.

Full Article: Hong Kong democracy activists walk free in appeal victory | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News.

China: Why Joshua, Nathan, Alex and the Umbrella Movement would be an excellent choice for the Nobel Peace Prize | Hong Kong Free Press

It is very heartening that twelve United States lawmakers nominated Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and the Umbrella Movement for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination comes at a time when the pro-democracy movement is under sustained attack by the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong government. Their primary means of attack are criminal prosecutions of pro-democracy leaders and activists and disqualifications from candidacy and elected office. Through these means, they have barred all groups which grew out of the Umbrella Movement from participating in the formal political system and are attempting to destroy the groups they find the most threatening.  They intend especially to intimidate young people against getting involved in politics, in the classic Communist ploy of “killing the chicken to scare the monkeys.”

Full Article: Why Joshua, Nathan, Alex and the Umbrella Movement would be an excellent choice for the Nobel Peace Prize | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP.

China: Bought-and-paid-for elections in villages erode China’s grass-roots democracy | Global Times

Late into the night at a small rural Chinese village of just 29 households, the lights of each household were still turned on. The village, which ordinarily would have been asleep, was as bustling as on the eve of the Lunar New Year. It was the night before the village’s general election. The homes had left their lights on as a signal to invite each candidate to come inside and “buy” their vote. This scene was described by one of the residents of Sanxian village in North China’s Shanxi Province. The resident told the Global Times that buying votes frequently happens at many Shanxi village elections, “and some villagers don’t turn off their lights until accepting money from every candidate.” A similar scenario happened in Nailin village of Shanxi on January 6, which drew nationwide attention. China Youth Daily reported that each candidate running for village head had paid each villager 1,000 yuan ($159) each. Screen shots of text messages and photos of villagers counting their money were posted online.

Full Article: Bought-and-paid-for elections in villages erode China’s grass-roots democracy - Global Times.

China: Hong Kong pro-democracy activists honoured by Nobel nomination | AFP

Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow Friday said they were honoured to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a group of US lawmakers at a time when the city’s freedoms are “under serious attack by China”. A bipartisan group of four senators and eight members of the House announced Thursday that they had nominated the activists “in recognition of their peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong.” Wong, Law and Chow — who shot to prominence as leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement — said they were honoured by the nomination, but warned that Beijing was targeting the freedoms enjoyed by residents of Hong Kong as a semi-autonomous part of China.

Full Article: Hong Kong pro-democracy activists 'honoured' by Nobel nomination | AFP.com.

China: What Agnes Chow’s election ban means for Joshua Wong and youth politics in Hong Kong | South China Morning Post

Beneath her dewy, fresh-faced look and somewhat bashful smile, Agnes Chow Ting, 21, is a battle-hardened political savant as far as young Hongkongers go. The pro-democracy activist was active in a campaign six years ago to force the government to retract a plan to introduce compulsory national education in schools. In 2014, she was at the front lines of the Occupy protests seeking greater democracy. Recently, she renounced her UK citizenship and put her studies at Baptist University on hold – all in the name of becoming the city’s youngest-ever lawmaker. Chow was gunning to win the Hong Kong Island seat in the upcoming Legislative Council by-election, where four seats need to be filled. But last Saturday, she faced her biggest setback yet.

Full Article: What Agnes Chow’s election ban means for Joshua Wong and youth politics in Hong Kong | South China Morning Post.