Hong Kong's "first-time voters" may become the "critical minority" in the British general election Hong Kong's "first-time voters" may become the "critical minority" in the British general election

Hong Kong's "first-time voters" may become the "critical minority" in the British general election

Hong Kong's "first-time voters" may become the "critical minority" in the British general election

The upcoming British general election will elect a total of 650 seats in the House of Commons from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and decide which party's leader will take office at 10 Downing Street. A group of Hong Kong people in the UK recently set up the Vote for Hong Kong 2024 (V4HK ) initiative, which aims to mobilize Hong Kong people in the UK to actively vote in the general election. The team earlier invited parliamentary candidates to sign a pledge to show their support for Hong Kong people.

Candidates across party lines pledge support for Hong Kong

As of Wednesday afternoon ( 3rd ) UK time, a total of 55 candidates have signed a pledge or issued a statement to show their support for Hong Kong, covering more than 40 constituencies, and candidates from the Labour Party, Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party, UK Reform Party, and 2 independent candidates. The candidates who signed the pledge have clearly stated that they support Hong Kong people in their pursuit of freedom and democracy, and promised to assist Hong Kong people in settling and integrating in the UK, support the BNO visa program and Hong Kong people seeking asylum, and support Hong Kong people in enjoying their civil rights and freedoms in the UK without oppression.

There are more than 650 constituencies and more than 4,500 candidates in this election , but only 55 people signed the pledge or declared their support for Hong Kong. V4HK spokesman Wu Kaixuan told this station that the prime minister's sudden early election caught them off guard. Due to time constraints, they can only focus on 20 to 30 constituencies where Hong Kong people live and invite candidates to sign the pledge. He believes that the result is in line with expectations and once again reflects the support for Hong Kong and Hong Kong people in the UK, which is a cross-party consensus in the UK. He hopes that candidates will continue to speak for Hong Kong people in the UK after being elected.

Proponent: Let Hong Kong people understand the candidates' stance on China and Hong Kong

The team is currently publishing on its website a list of candidates who have signed a letter of commitment or issued a statement of support for Hong Kong, so that Hong Kong people can understand which candidates in their constituencies have clearly expressed their support for Hong Kong people, as well as their positions on specific issues, so that they can make the right choice on Thursday.

Wu Kaixuan said: "In this election, foreign policy has never been the most mentioned or concerned issue by the candidates, but China and Hong Kong policies are still issues that Hong Kong people are very concerned about. We still hope to increase the transparency of the election through this action, so that Hong Kong people in the UK can better understand the candidates' views on various issues, including sanctions, foreign policy and cross-border repression."

A survey released earlier by V4HK showed that most Hong Kong people interviewed have registered as voters. They are most concerned about the government's foreign policies toward China and Hong Kong. They hope that the British government will crack down on the cross-border repression of the Chinese and Hong Kong governments and impose sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who violate human rights.

Wu Kaixuan mentioned that in constituencies where the election is particularly fierce or where there are a large number of Hong Kong people, candidates' responses are more positive. In addition to being willing to sign a letter of commitment or write a statement, they will also respond to the team's "policy statement" to explain their positions on issues such as cross-border repression and sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials.

It is worth noting that none of the Labour Party candidates, who are expected to win a landslide victory in the election, signed the V4HK pledge, but 17 Labour Party candidates issued separate statements in support of Hong Kong people. It is understood that the Labour Party adopted an extremely cautious strategy in this election, which is believed to be the reason why the Labour Party candidates did not sign any group's pledge.

Candidates from the Hong Kong People's Forum in the UK face Hong Kong voters directly  

In the past two weeks, many areas where Hong Kong people live, including Sutton, Reading, and Southampton in London , have successively held election forums for Hong Kong people, allowing Hong Kong people to ask questions directly to candidates. The forum in Sutton invited four candidates from the three major political parties, the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and the Liberal Democrats, from two local constituencies to attend.

Candidates from various parties clashed over economic, energy and immigration issues, but on China, they were all unanimously tough, criticizing China for undermining British values ​​and interests. Regarding the demands raised by Hong Kong people on the scene, including the closure of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and the review of Confucius Institutes, the four candidates unanimously promised that they would promote discussions in Congress after being elected, or lobby their political parties to promote policies.

However, our station checked the information afterwards and found that as of Wednesday afternoon ( 3rd ) UK time, among the four candidates attending the forum, only two Liberal Democratic Party candidates, Bobby Dean and Luke Taylor , had signed the V4HK commitment letter. Neither the Labour Party candidate Hersh Thaker nor the Conservative Party candidate Tom Drummond signed it, nor did they issue a separate statement to support Hong Kong people.

Hong Kong people criticize British politicians for being untrustworthy , but voting is an important opportunity to speak out  

When a Hong Konger spoke at the meeting, he blasted British politicians for being untrustworthy, and even started with the Sino-British Joint Declaration, describing it as "the biggest scandal in British history," drawing applause from the audience: "The question is simple. How could a country that claims to be one of the oldest democracies in the world hand over a piece of land to an authoritarian regime? Hong Kong people have never had the right to choose. There are only two countries discussing behind closed doors."

He also showed a letter, saying that he had previously written to 10 Downing Street , the Prime Minister's office, to reflect the safety concerns of Hong Kong people in the UK, but the letter was returned; he also wrote to the MP of his constituency, but also did not receive a reply.

This Hong Konger named Johnny was interviewed by our station afterwards. He said that many of the politicians' promises were just lip service, but he would still insist on voting to fight for the opportunity to speak out: "In fact, I am quite pessimistic. I have no expectations for the British government to hold China accountable for suppressing Hong Kong and not abiding by the Sino-British Joint Declaration. I have to speak out no matter what. This is what I learned when I was studying in the United States. Even if they may not listen to your opinions, you should at least speak out first. Just like when I sent the letter, it was actually a test to see if they would respond to our demands. The result was no."

Hong Kong people in the UK: Consider yourself part of the UK and voting is a basic obligation 

Kolman , a forum volunteer and Sutton resident, said in an interview with our station that even though he is not satisfied with the performance of candidates from various political parties, he will definitely vote: "It is very important for us Hong Kong people to vote here, because Hong Kong can really directly participate in a traditional and truly democratic election. In Hong Kong, it was very difficult in the past, and it is almost impossible now. Here, at least I consider myself a part of this country. Participating in voting is a basic obligation and a basic right. For us, it reflects our values. We believe in the values ​​of democracy and freedom, and voting is a very basic thing to do."

He is particularly concerned about the immigration policies of various political parties, but he believes that the parties only mention immigration issues in a slogan-like manner, but have not clearly stated how they will reduce immigration into the UK. Kolman believes that this involves the UK's long-term population and economic planning in the future, and as an immigrant who plans to live in the UK for a long time, he will also pay special attention to the statements of various parties on this issue.

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