The landslide victory for pro-democracy candidates in Sunday’s district council elections is a stinging rebuke to the city’s government — and an example of what protesters can achieve given the opportunity.
By avoiding unrest and trusting voters to support them, protesters scored a bigger victory than if they had disrupted the polls. They also demonstrated that far from devolving into anarchy, as some on the government side have claimed, the protest movement can — unlike the police, Beijing or the city’s leaders — control when and where the unrest takes place.
Sunday saw beautiful blue skies, long queues and one of the calmest days in Hong Kong since the protests began in June. Far from the visions of destruction and anger that have dominated coverage recently, this was a city that worked. And judging by the results, it worked in spite of, not because of, its government.