China news outlets stick to bare-bones facts on Hong Kong election results

Pro-democracy supporters celebrate results outside a polling station in the Tuen Mun area of Hong Kong on Nov 25, 2019.
Pro-democracy supporters celebrate results outside a polling station in the Tuen Mun area of Hong Kong on Nov 25, 2019.PHOTO: NYTIMES

SHANGHAI • Major news outlets in China have largely avoided detailed reporting of district council election results in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy candidates scored a landslide victory that some say amounted to support for anti-government protests.

Instead, some reports in China's tightly controlled media offered bare-bones facts about Sunday's elections, including how many seats were up for grabs and how many people had voted.

The website of Caixin, a leading economic and financial news provider, published a list of districts, candidates and vote counts but did not offer any context.

The tone in editorials, however, was firm.

The China Daily newspaper said yesterday that the result "marks a setback for Hong Kong's democratic development, as the results were skewed by the illegal activities of the opposition camp to the benefit of their candidates".

It added: "The election was further evidence, if any were needed, that the pressing issue in Hong Kong is upholding the rule of law and restoring order as soon as possible."

The Communist Party's official People's Daily said on Monday that "ending violence and chaos and restoring order remain the most pressing task facing Hong Kong".

State news agency Xinhua noted attacks on and harassment of some "patriotic and Hong Kong-loving candidates", saying such acts had created an unfair election process of which others took advantage.

The front page of the nationalistic Global Times yesterday said the election had sparked "reflection", but warned it was "highly politicised amid ongoing social unrest". The article went on to quote experts saying there was "no need to over-interpret the victory of pan-democrats".

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2019, with the headline 'China news outlets stick to bare-bones facts on polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe