Hong Kong should implement one man, one vote, a local pro-democracy group has said during a brief protest hours before unopposed leadership hopeful John Lee was set to secure the city’s top job.

A protest staged by the League of Social Democrats on May 8, 2022, ahead of the 2022 Chief Executive Election. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The League of Social Democrats (LSD) staged a brief demonstration in Wan Chai on Sunday morning. The 64-year-old former chief secretary Lee is expected to secure more than 750 votes from the Election Committee with ease to become the next chief executive of Hong Kong.

Chairwoman of the League of Social Democrats Chan Po-ying and police officers photographed on May 8, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Three representatives of the group, including chairwoman Chan Po-ying, walked from the Wan Chai MTR station towards the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where over 1,400 committee members would cast their ballots in the small-circle election.

A police parked on near Wan Chai Hennessy Road on May 8, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The LSD said more than 4.47 million voters in Hong Kong were “deprived” of their right to choose the city’s leader, while Lee’s candidacy was described as “perfectly demonstrating the Chinese-style single-candidate election.”

See also: Hong Kong’s Election Committee determines who leads the city – what is it and how does it work?

A protest staged by the League of Social Democrats on May 8, 2022, ahead of the 2022 Chief Executive Election. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

They urged the Hong Kong government to implement universal suffrage, saying the chief executive should be elected by one person, one vote, instead of being selected by the “all-patriots” committee that was vetted by Lee himself back when he was the city’s No.2 official.

Lee had a limited electoral base, the LSD said, adding that the demands and aspirations of most Hongkongers were “completely ignored and oppressed” under the electoral system that was revamped last May to ensure only “patriots” hold power in the city.

A group of men in suits outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It is unclear if they are security personnel from the government. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

See also: Explainer: Hong Kong’s first small-circle leadership race since Beijing’s ‘patriots-only’ electoral overhaul

“Human rights are above the regime, people are greater than the country,” the LSD’s banner read.

Police officers set up a cordons in Wan Chai on May 8, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The group also criticised Lee’s election manifesto as “uninspiring,” saying his push for the enactment of the controversial Article 23 of the Basic Law and the “fake news” law would amount to “supressing” the freedom of speech and press freedom in Hong Kong.”

“[R]ed lines are constantly shifting, the legal provisions are ambiguous and everyone is in danger… the presumption of innocence, the right to bail, the jury, sentencing discount after a guilty plea – they all exist in name only under the national security law,” the group said.

A protest staged by the League of Social Democrats on May 8, 2022, ahead of the 2022 Chief Executive Election. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Around 20 police officers walked with the LSD, they could only reach Central Plaza as most streets around the voting venue were sealed off.

As of 11 a.m., 1,406 members of the Election Committee had cast their votes. The turnout rate so far stands at 96.24 per cent. The voting ended at 11.30 a.m.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.