Generation 40s – 四十世代

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Hong Kong’s silent majority must make their voices heard, and their by-election votes count

CommentInsight & Opinion
2018-02-08

Michael Chugani says the upcoming Legislative Council by-elections are a contest over who lays claim to the voice of Hong Kong. It’s time for the ‘silent majority’ to make itself heard through its votes

Are you out there, silent majority? If yes, why so silent? Maybe you’re just a myth. If not, then speak up or we’ll have to accept that the loud and angry voices of protests which bombard us daily represent the vocal majority.

These voices say the government connived with Beijing to disqualify Agnes Chow Ting as a Legislative Council election candidate. They say putting parts of the express rail terminus under mainland control exposes locals to China’s authoritarian laws while still on Hong Kong soil. They say the government persecuted three young activists by seeking jail terms for their storming of government headquarters, which triggered the Occupy protest. And they applaud American congressmen who nominated the trio for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Are they the true voice of Hong Kong? Or is Hong Kong’s true voice that of those who say Chow deserves to be disqualified, Hongkongers have nothing to fear from joint immigration at West Kowloon, the trio who stormed government headquarters should have been jailed and US politicians should have waited until April Fools’ Day to nominate them for a Peace Prize?

I must say I chuckled at the outrage over Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s just political theatre by US lawmakers, for goodness sake. I know because I have covered Washington DC for years. The trio have as much chance of winning as I have of becoming Hong Kong’s next chief executive. But the eruption of anger, including from Beijing, has eaten right into the hands of the China-bashing lawmakers who are just loving it.

Protesters attend a rally in August 2017 after a court ordered Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow to be sent to jail for their role in the Occupy protests in 2014. Photo: APIf US lawmakers can nominate, what’s to stop China’s lawmakers from doing the same? They have every right to, since members of national assemblies are among the eight categories of people eligible to nominate. Those who are seeing red over the trio’s nomination can ask Hong Kong members of China’s National People’s Congress to make their own nomination. I suggest Robert Chow Yung, co-founder of the Silent Majority for Hong Kong, which was set up to counter the Occupy movement. The trouble is that, while the Occupy uprising is still romanticised by many locally and globally, Chow’s Silent Majority has long slipped into silence and therefore from the minds of most. And while some here and in the West have bestowed the heroic status of political prisoners on the Occupy trio for having served a few weeks behind bars before winning their final appeal against jail terms on Tuesday, those who opposed Occupy have not proclaimed a hero among them.

Do Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and Agnes Chow speak for the majority of Hongkongers? Or is the true voice of Hong Kong lurking out there, waiting for the right moment to make itself heard?

If the silent majority as defined by Robert Chow really does exist, there is no better moment than March 11 for it to be seen and heard. That’s when Hongkongers will vote in by-elections to fill four of the six seats left vacant by disqualified opposition legislators for improper oath-taking.

I can’t understand why there is never any real mud-slinging by Legislative Council election candidates. Why aren’t elections fought over who supported and opposed the Occupy uprising, the Mong Kok riots, the foul-mouthed oath-taking by some, and who is to blame for Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong? If candidates fight dirty over these issues, the winners and losers will clearly show which side represents the true voice of Hong Kong.

It’s the final call for the silent majority. Show yourself on March 11 if you exist or forever keep silent. If the opposition handsomely wins back the four seats, then the true voice of Hong Kong belongs to those who storm government buildings, advocate self-determination and lace oath-taking with expletives.

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong journalist and TV show host

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Hong Kong should waive the debt of disqualified lawmakers, following Australia’s example

CommentInsight & Opinion
2017-12-08
Grenville Cross says the practice in Australia of not pursuing the debt of ejected parliamentarians – provided they have discharged their duties ‘in good faith’ – offers Hong Kong a way forward

Although the president of Hong Kong’s legislature, Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, says the Legislative Council Commission acted on legal advice in seeking the full repayment of salaries and allowances from four disqualified lawmakers, the advice has been queried in some quarters.

The fact remains that the disqualification of Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim meant that their original election was void. As such, they were disentitled to the sums paid, and the commission is within its rights in seeking their return, however imprudent that course may be.

But this is not its only course.

In October, several lawmakers in Australia, including the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, also lost their seats. The Australian High Court decided they were ineligible because they were dual nationals, which is constitutionally prohibited. As the ejected lawmakers had already taken part in parliamentary proceedings for over a year, the repayment of salaries and entitlements would, if enforced, be a significant burden for them.

A similar situation also arose in April, when the High Court – for constitutional reasons unrelated to citizenship – found that Senator Bob Day had not been validly elected in 2016. Although the question of repayment arose, the responsible minister, Scott Ryan, said it would be unfair of the government to pursue the debt, given that Day had discharged his senatorial duties “in good faith”.

In Australia, the convention is to waive such debt. Ousted parliamentarians are given two options: pay up or apply for a waiver from the government. Provided there is no evidence of bad faith, the application of a waiver will normally be granted.

In Hong Kong, the four lawmakers seemingly acted in good faith in the Legislative Council after they were sworn in. Although they took their oaths in an irregular fashion, with two being required to retake them, they were all nonetheless ultimately seated. By contrast, the extreme antics of two other lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, at their oath-taking resulted in them being excluded altogether.

The four seated legislators would have assumed that they had been accepted as Legco members.

In these circumstances, the Australian approach provides valuable guidance for the Legco commission, which should now reconsider its demands in light of it. This, after all, was not a case in which someone tricked their way into Legco, as happened in 1985, when Tai Chin-wah, having falsely represented himself to be a solicitor, was elected to the chamber. He was unmasked six years later.

There can be no possible objection to the commission enforcing repayment of the debts owed by Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yau, whose abusive conduct violated basic norms. Their four colleagues, however, were not in that category, as the Legco president himself accepted. Ejection from Legco is itself a severe sanction, and basic fairness requires the waiver of the debts.

If, however, this does not happen, it is fanciful for people to suggest that Legco proceedings in which the four participated should be retroactively undone. Even if feasible, this would produce chaos.

In 1907, the Australian High Court resolved this very issue when it ruled that votes on legislation remain valid, even if a parliamentarian is subsequently deemed to have been invalidly elected, and this remains good law. As the judgment put it, “the proceedings of the Senate as a House of Parliament are not invalidated by the presence of a senator without title”.

Grenville Cross SC is a criminal justice analyst


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補選評析:兩個選區 兩種結果

明報
筆陣
蔡子強
2017-11-29

因為兩名時任區議員陳浩濂及蕭嘉怡分別被政府委任為副局長和政治助理,而讓有關山頂及東華兩個選區的議席騰空,而導致在剛過去的周日要進行補選。

議員半途而去累及政黨補選失票

根據過往經驗,一個政黨的區議員,如果半路中途因為有更好前途而「另謀高就」、「良禽擇木而棲」,捨選區和選民而去,那麼到了補選,都會讓該黨丟失選票甚至丟掉議席。

例子之一,便是當年匯賢智庫的陳岳鵬,他在2010年辭去薄扶林選區的議席,加入政府做行政長官辦公室特別助理。結果在補選中,匯賢智庫派出替補的劉應東受挫,丟掉了近300票,議席便落入當時公民黨派出的司馬文身上。

例子之二,2013年,民建聯的陳百里加入政府做政治助理,辭去坪石選區的議席,雖然民建聯派出替補的陳俊傑最終能夠守住議席,但已經丟掉約500票。

例子之三,那就是原屬民主黨的馮煒光,他在2013年辭去海怡西選區的議席,加入政府做新聞統籌專員,結果民主黨派出替補的單仲偕,丟失了約900票,把議席拱手送給了新民黨的陳家珮。但當時因有人民力量的袁彌明加入戰圈,讓泛民出現分票的情况,所以民主黨失票情况特別嚴重。

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政黨和候選人當然都知道箇中利害,因此獲泛民支持的山頂選區候選人錢志健,便在選舉中攻擊對手陳浩濂加入政府是背棄選民,因此選民不要再相信陳浩濂所屬的自由黨今次派出替補的候選人楊哲安。至於蕭嘉怡所屬的民建聯,則或許為了避免在選舉中予以民主黨對手類似的攻擊口實,尤其是東華選區過往民建聯和民主黨兩黨互有勝負,選情吃緊,因此今次放棄派黨員參選,改由報稱獨立的校長呂錦強出選。至於民主黨則派出曾經在中西區屢敗屢戰,今次是連續第三次參選的伍凱欣出戰。

選舉結果 泛民有悲有喜

周一選舉結果揭盅,泛民有悲有喜。山頂選區,楊哲安拿到1378票,擊敗只得394票的錢志健,自由黨仍然在此區取得壓倒性優勢,保住議席。而東華選區,屢敗屢戰的伍凱欣,終於守得雲開,以1034票擊敗對手呂錦強的909票,為民主黨反攻得手。

至於今次兩場補選與以往類似情况下引發的補選,有關選票版圖起落變化之比較,見附表。

從附表中可見,幾個例子全都顯示,議員因「另謀高就」而半途而去,所屬政黨在補選中都會流失選票,得票率都會有所下跌,只是多少的問題,由幾個百分點到20多個百分點不等。

因此今次補選,對錢志健和伍凱欣,至少就有這點有利因素。

東華選區:屢敗屢戰 有志者事竟成

東華選區過往長時間由民主黨守住,但打從2007年區選開始,民建聯派出蕭嘉怡挑戰,結果雖然輸了「四比六」(690票對1033票),但蕭卻留在原區深耕,再在2011年區選捲土重來,結果反敗為勝。這正如以前我在本欄所說,很多選民,如果看到一個年輕人落敗後再繼續留在地區深耕,人心肉做,往往會有所感動,在下一次選舉以手中選票作支持。

風水輪流轉,今次蕭嘉怡半途而去,加入政府,民主黨派出的伍凱欣,過往兩屆先後在東華附近的選區出戰過,分別是2011年在堅摩、2015年在水街,結果兩次都是僅敗,但她卻沒有一走了之,反而留在地區深耕,屢敗屢戰,結果終於贏得選民的認同,守得雲開,贏回一仗。

值得一提的是,雖然今次補選投票率較上次選舉跌了約7個百分點,但伍凱欣的得票,卻反而較上次黨友何俊麒多了54張,可見她的個人因素,為民主黨取得額外的選票。

正如之前在本欄為東華作過選區分析,該區月入超過10萬元的富裕住戶多達六分之一;擁有大學學位、受過高等教育的居民亦多達四成;區內並沒有任何公屋或居屋,清一色是私樓。因此東華屬於一個高學歷、高收入的中產選區,泛民本來就不是無得打。

但是有人歡喜有人愁,山頂選區的戰况則有所不同,錢志健卻鎩羽而歸。

山頂選區:雙方「基本盤」差距懸殊

最關鍵的原因,就是山頂選區的選票基本盤,建制派一直佔優。2015年區選,陳浩濂對獨立候選人陳樹滿,得票已經是「六對一」(1837票對317票);就是2011年,對手是知名度高得多的公民黨陳淑莊,結果得票率是65%(1505票)對35%(820票),差不多是「二對一」,可說是一面倒的戰果。這導致泛民在2015年放棄競逐該區。就算以較政治化、泛民較為佔優的立法會選舉為例,2016年立法會選舉(泛民+本土)在此也只是拿到35%得票,幾乎是沒有寸進。建制和泛民在這選區雙方「基本盤」的差距實在是相當懸殊。

如果選票「基本盤」處於劣勢,要反敗為勝,不外乎是靠(1)候選人本身個人條件、(2)campaign,以及(3)政治大氣候,來扭轉乾坤。但今次在這場山頂選戰,三方面對泛民都是不利。

先說第一點。候選人錢志健個人條件未見突出,知名度亦不見得特別高。

再說第二點。該區因為地理關係,根本很難做campaign,候選人至多可以在行車路口「舉舉牌」、「揮揮手」、「打打招呼」,讓選民「驚鴻一瞥」。

最後說第三點。以往如果政府民望低殘、市民反政府情緒高漲,那麼泛民在選舉時便能受惠。以區選為例,最經典的例子是2003年區選,當年「七一」出現50萬人上街後,泛民在區選中便勢不可擋。但如今梁振英「被換走」,泛民失了「最佳助選員」,新上台的林鄭月娥民望高達六成,與市民的蜜月期仍未完,因此整體政治大氣候對泛民也未見有利。

因此,今次得到泛民支持的錢志健鎩羽而歸,也是意料中事。

中文大學政治與行政學系高級講師

蔡子強


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愈年輕愈投本土/自決派一票

明報
筆陣
2017-05-11
蔡子強、陳雋文

上個星期(5月4日),通過整理選舉事務處公布的立法會選舉投票數據,點出近年年輕人投票行為模式的兩大重要特徵,分別是:

一、在雨傘運動之後,年輕人無論在區議會選舉或立法會選舉,投票意欲都有明顯的上升,尤其是立選,投票率增幅尤其驚人,遠高於中年及老年人的增幅;

二、年輕人對立法會選舉的投票意欲,要遠遠高於區議會選舉。

今個星期,通過整理兩個於2012年及2016年立法會選舉後所作的研究,再點出年輕人投票行為模式的另外一些重要特徵。

<u>愈年輕愈投票泛民 愈年長愈投票建制</u>

表1是我與同事馬嶽及前同事黃鶴回兩位教授,在2012年立法會選舉後所作的一個研究當中的部分數據。

當中可見,這些數據所呈現出來的圖象,與大家的常識脗合,那就是愈年輕的人,愈會在選舉中投票給泛民;相反,愈年長的人,卻愈會投票給建制派。在青年(18至39歲)組別,有差不多三分之二的人投票給泛民,與投票給建制的,相差42個百分點;至於中年(40至59歲)組別,雖然投票給泛民的仍然佔多,但差距已經明顯收窄,只餘7個百分點;到了老年(60歲或以上)組別,情况更出現逆轉,投票給建制的已經反佔多數,而且多出近12個百分點。

青年人初出茅廬,尤其是剛離開學校(當中相當比例指的是大學),仍比較理想化,心態上仍是比較嚮往民主、自由、人權等理念,對權威反感,因此投票時,也較鍾情民主派;至於建制派那套保守政治論述,不易聽得入耳,亦因此很難投建制派一票。

但中年人要「撐起頭家」,需面對生活壓力,供樓、畀家用、照顧高堂、負擔子女教育開支,慢慢就變得比較現實,亦更易接受建制派強調安定、繁榮、和諧的那套保守政治論述,於是也有不少人投建制派一票。

到了老年人,隨着步入暮年,他們不單心態上變得比中年人更保守,更抗拒轉變以至「激烈」的東西,且很多早年未有機會接受良好教育,對民主、自由、人權等理念比較「無感」,且大多數是早年大陸移民,較易被「愛國」、民族主義那套打動;最後,更是建制派「蛇齋餅糭」政治攻略的主要市場所在,於是更大比例的投建制派一票。

<u>那麼本土/自決派出現之後又如何?</u>

2012年立選,本土/自決派仍未成氣候;但到了2016年立選,卻變得來勢洶洶,他們甚至聲言要與傳統泛民、建制「三分天下」。那麼不同年齡層,尤其是青年人,他們的投票取向又出現了怎樣的變化呢?

表2是港大民意研究計劃在2016年立法會選舉後所作的一個研究當中的部分數據。

當中可見,在青年組別,投給「泛民+本土/自決派」的,與2012年那個研究一樣,都是佔了三分之二左右,且有所上升,由上屆的64.8%,上升至今屆的67.58%;相反,愈年長的人,卻愈會投票給建制派,到了老年組別,情况更出現逆轉,投票給建制的已經反佔多數,同樣多出近12個百分點。

但更重要的是,如果我們把「泛民+本土/自決派」分拆為溫和泛民(民主黨、公民黨、工黨、民協等)、激進泛民(人社同盟)、本土/自決派(熱普城、青政、眾志等)三大板塊,我們更能仔細看到青年人的投票取向。

<u>青年人對本土/自決派尤為鍾情</u>

從表2中可見,青年對本土/自決派最為鍾情,三成人投票給他們,冠於所有政治板塊;如果把「激進泛民+本土/自決派」合併來計,更進一步高達四成多,高於溫和泛民的兩成半,更遑論建制派的不足兩成。

這和大家的常識脗合,那就是青年人是本土/自決派的主要票源,最為鍾情本土、自決及其他激進政治主張,最為躁動不安、急於求變,易為這些激進政治力量所動員和吸納。相反,老年人卻對他們最為抗拒,亦最少投票給他們,只有5%。

我相信有讀者會問,前述我們在整理數據時,把年輕組別定為18至39歲,但如果進一步收窄為18至29歲,那就是真的剛離開校門最年輕熱血的那個年紀,情况又如何呢?表3我們整理了有關數字。

從表3中可見,我們看到情况更加一面倒,18至29歲這群人,有高達八成支持「泛民+本土/自決派」!他們更對本土/自決派最為鍾情,四成人投票給本土/自決派;如果把「激進泛民+本土/自決派」合併來計,更進一步高達五成,即是每兩票就有一票投給他們!

這似乎真的應驗了一句:愈年輕,愈激進。

(本文部分數據由港大民意研究計劃提供,特此鳴謝港大民研計劃以及鍾庭耀和Edward Tai)

(傘運前後年輕人的投票模式剖析 三之二)

2016


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傘運前後年輕人的投票模式剖析/

明報
觀點:筆陣
2017-05-04

文﹕蔡子強、陳雋文

過去一年,筆者在本欄分別撰文,以2015年區議會選舉及2016年2月立法會新界東補選的投票數據,來看看一個大家都關心的課題,那就是:雨傘運動後,年輕人的投票意欲有否改變?

結果發現,以區議會選舉而言,縱然2015年比2011年有所上升,但年輕人的投票率仍然遠低於長者,即年輕人的投票意欲要低於長者。同時,年輕選票佔全港整體選票數目的百分比,亦同樣低於長者,即年輕選票的影響力亦低於長者選票。

那麼立法會選舉又如何?在新東補選中,相對2015年區選,年輕人的投票率出現了勁升,反而老年的卻有所下跌;同時,年輕選票佔整體選票的百分比,亦超越了長者,即年輕選票的影響力大過了長者選票。

當然以上說的只是一次補選,未必作得準。那麼到了正式立法會選舉又如何?

較早之前,選舉事務處終於公開了今屆立法會選舉的投票數據,但近幾個月,筆者都忙於在本欄撰寫有關特首選舉的文章,到近日才有空整理數據,再結合上屆立選以及兩屆區選,共4次選舉的投票數據,終於可以勾畫出一個比較全面,比較雨傘運動前後香港不同年齡層的投票面貌。且在這裏與大家分享。

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如果細閱表1,就年輕人的投票行為模式而言,我們可以察覺到兩大重要現象:

傘運後年輕人投票意欲明顯上升

首先,在雨傘運動之後,年輕人無論在區選或立選,投票意欲都有明顯的上升。年輕人(18至40歲),以區選而論,傘運前的投票率是30.83%,傘運後則是37.6%;至於立選,傘運前的投票率是48.52%,傘運後更升至57.72%!增幅尤其驚人,遠高於中年(41至60歲)及老年人(61歲或以上)的增幅。

這反映了,雨傘運動確實減低了過去年輕人的政治冷感,讓他們較以往更加關注政治與選舉,投票意欲有所增強,收窄了與中年及老年人間的差距。

當然,這裏只看到傘運後一屆區選和立選的數字。大家會問,隨着時間過去,傘運慢慢丟淡,年輕人的投票意欲會否逐漸「打回原形」?還是,年輕人的投票行為已經出現了根本轉變?這便要假以時日才能夠有答案。

年輕人立選投票意欲遠高於區選

其次,年輕人對立法會選舉的投票意欲,要遠遠高於區議會選舉。年輕人在2011年區選的投票率,只有30.83% ,但在緊接的2012年立選,卻升至48.52%;在2015年區選的投票率,只有37.6%,但在緊接的2016年立選,更升至57.72%!

雖然,中年人和老年人,同樣是對立選投票的意欲要高於對區選,但兩種選舉間的差距,明顯沒有年輕人的那麼顯著。

我相信這反映了幾點:

(1)年輕人對地區事務的興趣,遠遠不及對政治或社經等中央議題的興趣,因此影響了他們在區選的投票意欲;

(2)再者,立選有更多他們想投票支持的候選人,如「傘兵」、本土自決派、年輕候選人等,讓他們也更踴躍投票(這方面且留待下星期再詳細剖析);以及

(3)年輕人還未養成一個每次選舉都去投票的穩定習慣,因此即使今次在立選投了票,並不意味他們下次區選時,會自動走入票站。

順帶一提,以青年、中年、老年3個年齡層來說,以老年人的投票習慣最為穩定,無論傘運前後,以及兩級議會間,投票率的差異都最小。

年輕選票在立選較區選影響為大

那麼,年輕選票究竟在本地選舉所起的影響有多大?能否左右大局?究竟是年輕還是中年抑或是老年的選票比重較大?在兩級選舉是否有所不同?要回答這些問題,且讓我們再看看有關數據。

從表2可見,在2015年區選,年輕人的選票只佔整體比重的四分之一(24.77%),不單低於中年所佔的四成(42.12%),亦低於老年所佔的三分之一(33.11%);但到了2016年立選,情况卻有所逆轉,因為其投票率的飈升,所以選票佔整體比重也上升至接近三分之一(30.87%),雖然仍低於中年所佔的四成(40.46%),但卻已追過老年所佔的不足三成(28.67%)。

所以簡單來說,中年選票是選舉中所佔比重最大,最左右大局的一塊,無論兩級議會選舉,也都如此。至於年輕及年老選票,表現卻並不如此一致,在兩級議會選舉有所不同,後者在區選佔優,相反前者卻在立選反壓過對方。

再加上立選採用比例代表制,兼且是最大餘額法,因此只要拿到一成甚至是幾個百分點選票,便大有可能拿到一個議席。因此,年輕選票在立選更有可為。

至於年輕人又究竟較傾向在立選中投票支持哪些政團和候選人?是否真的是激進民主和本土自決派?因篇幅關係,留待下星期再談。

(二之一)

[蔡子強、陳雋文]