More than 600,000 people attended Sunday’s election of opposition candidates. It was a clear demonstration of protest against the Hong Kong government and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Legislative elections will be held in Hong Kong in September and will play a key role in the future freedoms of its citizens. The opposition had to organize its alliances and strategies, and in order to choose the candidates who will run in September, it organized this kind of primary election, which also serves as a way of polling its electorate. 

The government did not authorize the elections. However, in a clear act of struggle for freedom and democracy, more than 600,000 people went to the 250 polling stations to cast their votes. Each vote meant not only opting for one candidate or another, but also the demonstration of support for initiatives that confront the current government, the controversial security law that has just been voted on, and any attempt by the Hong Kong government and the Chinese Communist Party to oppress the freedoms of Hong Kong citizens. 

As reported by Reuters, one of the young organizers of the movement, Sunny Cheung said, “A high turnout will send a very strong signal to the international community, that we Hong Kongers never give up.” Cheung added, “And that we still stand with the democratic camp, we still support democracy and freedom.”

Another organizer, Au Nok-hin, also expressed his agreement with the call for the elections. “Even under the shadow of the national security law, there were still 600,000 people coming out (…) you can see the courage of the Hong Kong people in this … Hong Kongers have created another miracle.”

While the election result is very encouraging because of the large voter turnout, the reality is that freedoms are not guaranteed. In fact, the new law punishes what the CCP widely describes as secession, subversion, terrorism, and conspiracy with foreign forces, with up to life imprisonment, and allows mainland security agents to operate officially in Hong Kong for the first time.

At a press conference on Monday, July 13, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was asked about her reaction to the pro-democracy camp’s primary elections. Her response was blunt: “If this so-called primary election purpose is to achieve the ultimate goal of … rejecting to, resisting every policy initiative of the Hong Kong SAR government, then it may fall into the category of subverting the state power, which is now one of the four types offenses under the new national security law.”

Given the new law, and the fact that these elections were not previously approved by the government, some activists fear that the authorities will try to prevent some candidates who participated now from running in the September elections. 

According to TownHall, Owen Chow, one of the candidates for freedom and resistance to oppression, warned, “They can arrest or disqualify any candidate they don’t like under the national security law without a proper reason.”

The young political activist Nathan law, posted on Saturday from his Twitter account, that CCP is doing everything it can to stop the Hong Kong primary elections, but he encouraged his followers to go out and vote by ensuring that the people will respond with a strong stand, exercising freedom of expression to support their political representatives. 

Primary elections will decide the strongest pro-democracy candidates to contest the September elections for the Hong Kong Legislative Council. The goal is then to achieve a legislative majority for the first time, and thus gain greater power and control over pro-Chinese regime rivals.