Hong Kong voters flock to polls after protests and government climbdowns
Source: The Guardian
Hong Kong voters have gone to the polls in greater numbers than ever, after days of political drama in which students on hunger strike forced the government to drop an unpopular education policy extolling the merits of mainland China.
The elections are for 70 seats in the legislative council, under rules that ensure a pro-government majority. The former British colony, under mainland Chinese sovereignty since 1997, is guaranteed freedom of speech and assembly but can only vote directly for just over half the seats available in the council.
Three issues topped voters' concerns: the rising cost of buying a home, resentment towards mainland Chinese arrivals in the city, and a policy known as national education.
This last brought tens of thousands of people, led by the school activist group Scholarism, to the government headquarters each night for the last two weeks. Posters read "Love is learned", with the first letter of learned crossed out. Drawings of a brain held in two hands were labelled: "Do not wash – handle with care."