Election tests Hong Kong’s stomach for defying Beijing


HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong is holding by-elections that give opposition supporters the chance to recapture lost ground in a contest measuring voters’ appetite for democracy in the semiautonomous Chinese city.

Polls opened Sunday in the vote pitting pro-Beijing loyalists against opposition candidates competing for four seats in the city’s semi-democratic legislature.

The seats were left empty when a group of lawmakers were expelled following a 2016 controversy over their oaths, which they used to defy China.

The ejected members included two advocating Hong Kong’s independence, something China’s President Xi Jinping has called a “red line.”

In the vote’s main battleground, little known activist Au Nok-hin is competing against pro-Beijing rival Judy Chan.

He was enlisted at the last moment after officials disqualified the pro-democracy camp’s marquee candidate, Agnes Chow.

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