Wong passes torch amid 'radicalized politics'

Top News | Michael Shum 15 Jul 2020

Democratic Party veteran Helena Wong Pik-wan has said goodbye as a legislator, conceding her defeat in the pro-democracy camp primaries was due to the radicalization of Hong Kong politics.

Wong admitted her loss at a press conference yesterday as preliminary results showed she ranked seventh in Kowloon West, which is not enough to qualify her to represent the pro-democracy camp in the September Legislative Council elections.

"I respect the voters' decision, as well as the agreement with other candidates. I will not run in the upcoming Legco elections and will assist my fellow party members in the elections," Wong said, blaming herself for the loss.

Wong added: "The radicalization of Hong Kong politics has been triggered and caused by the inaction and lack of positive response from the SAR government as well as the central government."

Wong, 61, was reelected in Kowloon West in the 2016 elections after she first became a lawmaker in 2012, but she failed to get voters' support in the primaries, saying she was considered more of a conservative in her party.

Political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said people voted based on the candidates' degree of involvement in public movements and their willingness to get involved in physical confrontations.

"Wong did not take part in more progressive physical confrontation until the primaries came, which failed to connect with pro-democracy supporters who leaned toward representatives in the legislature that will use more physical ways to express their demands," he said.

"Wu Chi-wai from the same party also struggled to gather votes and barely qualified. This shows Wu, even as the chairman, was also affected by the more conservative image of the Democratic Party."

Also booted out was health services sector lawmaker Joseph Lee Kok-long, who has held the seat in the functional constituency since 2002.

"The result caught me off guard - I am also surprised at only getting some 100 votes," Lee said, after losing to the chairwoman of the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance, Winnie Yu Wai-ming, who garnered 2,165 votes.

"But no matter what, I am still a professor," said Lee.

"I cannot teach my students to be a bad loser and shift the blame to others. I am sorry, I cannot do it, so I will not run."

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, who ranked first in Kowloon East, said the results reflect voters' support for activists to join the legislature and press on with an "all-out resistance."

Wong added: "The victory of activists in the primaries implies the continuation of the spirit of our resistance against China's growing curbs over the city's freedoms.

"When Beijing abused the legislative procedure, the function of Legco changed completely. Amid the city's vanishing liberty, future lawmakers are expected to take a stronger stance against Beijing's interference."

Final results will be announced as soon as today.

michael.shum@singtaonewscorp.com

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