TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Swedish cartoonist created this illustration to mock the highly undemocratic way the elections for the Legislative Council (LegCo) in Hong Kong were weighted in Beijing's favor on Sunday (Dec. 19).
The elections held that day marked the first since the draconian national security law was implemented and followed 18 months of delays due to the pandemic. After arresting many of the pro-democratic politicians and passing a new law that requires candidates to be vetted for their loyalty to the establishment and Beijing, only one candidate from the non-establishment camp won out of 90 seats up for grabs on Sunday.
The election saw a record-low turnout of only 30.2% of voters participating, while the number of blank and invalid votes were at a record high. This stands in stark contrast to the 58.3% seen in the legislative election in 2016 and the 71% seen in the 2019 local elections when the pro-democracy camp achieved the biggest landslide victory in the history of Hong Kong.
Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson that same day on his news blog Kinamedia posted an article titled "Satire: Election with Hong Kong characteristics" and included an illustration by Swedish artist Niklas Eriksson (@KluddNiklas). Olsson wrote that the results of the elections were a result of a "drastic overhaul in election laws" designed to silence the pro-democracy camp.
In the illustration, the little "Pooh Bears" can be seen casting votes for the Hong Kong Legislative Election, while a giant Winnie the Pooh stands outside with a massive handgun in his paw. Winnie the Pooh is banned in China, as the cartoon character has been used to lampoon Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平).
The Chinese central government on Monday released a white paper in which it praised the new election model as "democracy with Hong Kong characteristics," hearkening to China's "socialism with Chinese characteristics" dubbed by Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平). Olsson grimly predicted that from this point forward, "only elections with Hong Kong characteristics will be allowed to take place."
(Illustration by @KluddNiklas for Kinamedia)