Note: I live in Hong Kong too same as the answerer, but I don't have any idea. Don't judge me please.

I'm possibly overlooking something in this Wikipedia page 2022 Hong Kong Chief Executive election, but... it says:

Former Chief Secretary John Lee is the sole candidate approved by the central government of China in the election and the only candidate to be nominated.

and then

This is the first sole-candidate election since the Chief Executive Election Ordinance was amended in 2006 which requires a vote of support.


  1. Do I misunderstand that China basically said 'We'll allow only 1 person, namely John Lee (who is pro-Beijing and not pro-democracy or neither), in this election' ?

  2. What was the HK people's reaction to this 1 candidate election?

The closest I can see to an answer to Q2 in the page is:

League of Social Democrats (LSD), one of the only remaining pro-democracy groups, held a three-person protest before polls opened, chanting "power to the people, universal suffrage now". Vanessa Chan, chairwoman of LSD, criticised John Lee for shrinking civil liberties in his "new chapter".[84] Stand with Hong Kong, an activist organization based in overseas, called the leadership race a "sham election", and urged "democratic countries across the world" to not recognise the race.[80]

  • 2.1. That's it?! I thought it would indeed be seen as a sham election like in North Korea where they have just 1 party, and everyone votes for that party. But well I guess not really because technically you could vote no? So what would've happened if it were no anyway?
  1. Quick question, the only political camps in HK are pro-Beijing, pro-democracy and neither (eg Woo Kwok-hing in 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive election) right?
  • 1
    The opposition in Hong Kong is more or less completely oppressed and there is only a facade of democracy, just an illusion of freedom and choice. What more do you need to know to understand the current state of Hong Kong? Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 9:08
  • @Trilarion Something that can be put in an answer post, so I'll be able to know the facts for sure.
    – BCLC
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


I live in Hong Kong so I can give you a more on-the-ground perspective.

  1. No, you do not misunderstand. This is a sham "election". It's essentially a selection process orchestrated by central government in Beijing with the intent to dress it up with the superficiality of a democratic election. It's not convincing any local observer as there is nothing democratic about the process.

  2. The Hong Kong people have basically resigned to apathy or collective depression at this point. The spirit of resistance we saw in 2019 city-wide protest was basically wiped out once the central government promulgated the controversial National Security Law - a vague and sweeping legislation that basically gave the Hong Kong Government unchecked power to suppress any dissent. It's draconian, authoritarian, and infuriating.

  3. Previously, there was a pro-establishment (pro-Beijing) camp and pro-democracy camp in the city's political landscape. But since the promulgation of National Security Law, the government had ruthlessly cracked down on pro-democracy parties and their political figures. Many of them are now either locked up or have fled the city. Currently, the entire political landscape is populated by pro-establishment parties' jockeying for favour from central government - the power game now is basically a race of who can "out pro-Beijing" your opponent.

For more information I recommend reading Timonthy McLaughlin from The Atlantic. He's been around the local press circle since the beginning and has recently left (I'm actually surprised he endured it for this long):

  1. The Final Blow to Hong Kong: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/04/hong-kong-uk-judges-resignation-democracy-risk/629494/

  2. The Symbol of a New, Darker Hong Kong: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/05/john-lee-hong-kong-2022-chief-executive-election/631638/

  3. Farewell to Hong Kong and its Big Lie: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/06/hong-kong-tiananmen-square-china-censorship/661342/

  • wait theatlantic paywall? Alternatives please?
    – BCLC
    Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 10:19
  • 2
    @BCLC Try view the links in private mode or erase browser cookies to see if the paywall ignores you. Otherwise I recommend reading Hong Kong Free Press - they're crowdfunded so there is no paywall. Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 11:18

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