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By: Nick Yang、Ziyu Bruce ZhaoEdited by: LAMA Sumnima Rani

Politics

Election Committee poll sees ‘patriots’ fill hundreds of seats on body to appoint Hong Kong’s leader next year in first poll after system revamp; delay in results had candidates waiting overnight

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Nick Yang、Ziyu Bruce ZhaoEdited by: LAMA Sumnima Rani
  • 2021-09-20

The polls for Hong Kong’s Election Committee closed last night ending the city’s first election since Beijing revamped the electoral system in March. According to official statistics, 4,380 people cast their ballots, a turnout of about 90%, a record-high rate despite a drastic reduction in the number of eligible voters this year. All but one of the Election Committee seats went to the pro-establishment camp, with 412 candidates competing for 364 elected seats. The remaining seats on the 1,500-member committee were appointed, filled by ex-officio members or automatically elected. The committee will select Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive next year as well as appoint 40 members to the Legislative Council. “The turnout reflects the support of members of various sub sectors for the new electoral system,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in a press release. Voting results were delayed until 7:30 am today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, with Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Barnabas Fung Wah apologising for problems with the ballot verification papers, likely because officials filled in the wrong boxes, he said at a press conference. The central government reforms included reviewing candidate backgrounds, increasing the number of ex-officio members and raising the requirements for the qualifications of voters. The number of eligible voters dropped from 246,440 to about 4,900. "The automatic election of members from many sectors and the stop of non-patriots have led to a reduction in voters, which actually makes the election more fair," Legislative Council member Lau Kwok-fan said. Daniel Cai, a Hong Kong resident, said he did not pay attention to the election since Beijing changed the electoral system. “I belong to no valid sector, so I don’t have the right to vote for the representatives,” he said. “Before the reform of the election, I could vote for …

Society

Imported Delta strain spreads to 15 provinces and municipalities

The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has yesterday spread to 15 provinces and municipalities on the mainland since it was first detected on July 20 in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province in eastern China. As local authorities try to stem the outbreak, lockdowns and travel restrictions have been imposed in many parts of the country. In the latest development, Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that started in late 2019, will begin testing its 11 million people, after seven locally transmitted cases have been recorded.  In Zhangjiajie, the scenic city in Hunan province in central China known for its spectacular landscape, both local residents and tourists have been barred from leaving, after 13 confirmed infections were identified.   In Nanjing, the population has been put through three rounds of COVID-19 tests. Lukou district was designated a high-risk area and 31 nearby districts medium-risk, according to local media reports. So far, the city has recorded 220 confirmed cases of infection, of which six are classified as severe. Thousands of citizens who reside in medium and high-risk areas have been quarantined in hotels, while others were told to refrain from going out.  As shopping malls and supermarkets in some areas were forced to close, buses and trains have also changed their routes to avoid passing through high-risk areas.  Despite these preventive measures, the city is not under a full lockdown and most people still need to go to work.   Guo Guanchu, a student of Southeast University, said people in the city did not find the current wave of infection frightening.  “The impact of the pandemic on Nanjing is decreasing, but it is having a bigger impact on the whole country,” he said, referring to the rising number of infections across the country.  But travel restrictions imposed to …