China specialist Willy Lam on Tuesday described comments made by a senior Beijing official to call on Hong Kong people to cast their "sacred ballots” in the Legislative Council elections as "unprecedented".
The director of Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, on Monday said he expects Hong Kong people who want the SAR to do well and who support One Country, Two Systems will cast their “sacred ballots” in the polls on December 19, an appeal Lam said was rare for such a senior state official.
"I think those comments were really important because it is quite unprecedented for such a senior level state leader to make an appeal to Hong Kong voters just a couple of weeks before the actual election.
"He said explicitly that the act of voting is a means of showing your confidence in One Country, Two Systems”, Lam said, adding that Xia had emphasised that those running for Legco come from all walks of life, not just the traditional elite.
Lam added that Xia wants to convince Western governments that Beijing “is not messing around with One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong, but it's actually putting together an election which reflects Hong Kong's values”.
In yesterday’s speech via video link, Xia said Hong Kong had wasted time in seeking "Western-style democracy" but was left only with chaos and divisions. He also noted that Hong Kong people had never truly enjoyed democracy.
But he said the new electoral system allows the SAR to achieve good governance and a democracy that fits the city's actual situation.
"As some people from Hong Kong said, the city has been blindly seeking Western-style democracy for some time in the past, but in actuality, that didn't bring real democracy," Xia said.