Candidates aspiring to run for newly created subsectors of the revamped 1,500-member Election Committee vowed to bring out diverse voices on Monday as the weeklong nomination for the election of the committee entered its third day.
Terence Chan, head of the General Assembly of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Association, submitted his application for the new subsector for representatives of associations of Hong Kong residents on the mainland. The subsector has 27 seats on the committee.
Chan said about 500,000 Hong Kong residents are living on the Chinese mainland, and the establishment of the new subsectors demonstrates how important the city views this group, as well as the wide representation of the newly constituted committee.
Chan vowed to bring closer ties between Hong Kong and Shanghai against the backdrop of the nation's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Fan Minhua, a candidate for one of the 60 new seats in the new subsector — the associations of Chinese fellow-townsmen — said that it is a feature of Hong Kong to have various fellow townsmen associations, as the city of immigrants has seen generations of people coming from different places on the Chinese mainland to seek a living.
Fan, deputy chairman of the Hong Kong-Shanghai Economic Development Association, said he believes that these patriotic townsmen associations can play a role in society and should not be underestimated.
Another 14 candidates from academic and research institutions and technology startups signed up to compete for the 15 seats of the new technology and innovation subsector. They included Dennis Lo Yuk-ming, professor of chemical pathology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Norma Chu, founder of the online-recipe website Day Day Cook.
These new faces set a goal to unleash the industry's capacity to improve people's livelihoods in Hong Kong and contribute to the country's scientific research and development through closer ties with the mainland.
Under the newly revamped rule, the city's education sector unveiled a new coalition that will send 13 candidates to run for the 14 seats in the education subsector that will be returned by election. The candidates include Wong Kam-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers; and Ho Hon-kuen, chairman of the Education Convergence.
The remaining 16 seats of the subsector will be filled by ex officio members, including vice-chancellors or presidents of local universities, and representatives of the top five school-sponsoring bodies in Hong Kong.
Wong said he believes that the improved electoral system will "break the previous monopoly of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union", which has held all 30 seats of the pre-reform education subsector in the 2016 Election Committee elections but has been accused of being unprofessional by putting politics over teaching, leading to a radicalized campus atmosphere.
Ho pledged that he and his fellow candidates will work with the future chief executive and Legislative Council members to strengthen the foundation of Hong Kong's education and to formulate long-term development plans.
Notably, some members of the Hong Kong Olympics delegation, who returned to Hong Kong on Monday with a historic six medals from Tokyo, are expected to soon submit their applications after quarantine, including delegation head Pui Kwan-kay, and Li Ching, the coach who led the Hong Kong's table tennis women's team to the bronze medal.