Following the Legislative Council by-elections, members of the pro-establishment camp have started drawing conclusions about how Vincent Cheng Wing-shun of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) was able to overcome enormous odds and defeat the pan-democrat candidate Edward Yiu Chung-yim in the Kowloon West constituency.
According to the analysis of some in the pro-establishment camp, apart from the massive material and manpower support provided by the DAB and other pro-Beijing groups, a major factor behind Cheng’s surprise victory was that his rival Yiu may have relied too much on internet campaign and neglected some of the conventional campaign methods such as visiting the communities in person and making door-to-door visits.
Besides, they explained, Yiu — perhaps on the advice of his de facto campaign manager Eddie Chu Hoi-dick –adopted an “austere and thrifty” approach to campaigning, and put up very few campaign banners on the streets.
Worse still, apart from their scarcity, Yiu’s banners were either already used before or non-descript, hence his failure to draw the attention of grass-roots or middle-class voters, who had got accustomed to conventional campaign techniques.
Meanwhile, it appears leaders of the pro-establishment camp haven’t let their victory last Sunday go to their heads, and are already setting their sights on the next by-elections, also in Kowloon West and New Territories East.
While it remains to be seen whether the pan-dems will make the ousted “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Lau Siu-lai run again, the pro-establishment camp expects more difficulty in coordinating the campaign efforts in the upcoming polls.
It is because Cheng’s triumph would almost certainly inspire a lot more potential hopefuls in the camp to compete for candidacy for the upcoming race, and leaders of the pro-establishment parties would probably have their work cut out for them trying to hammer out their final list of candidates.
Nevertheless, since the DAB already dominated the by-elections on Sunday in both Kowloon West and New Territories East, some in the pro-Beijing camp believe that the DAB is likely to take a backseat in the next race and allow other pro-establishment blocs to run.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 13
Translation by Alan Lee
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