Pro-Democracy Candidates Win Big in Hong Kong
They rode anti-China sentiment to victory
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2016 12:33 AM CDT
Radical activist candidates from Youngspiration group, from left, Yau Wai-ching, Kenny Wong and Henry Wong shout slogans as they celebrate after Yau won the legislative council election in Hong Kong,...   (Vincent Yu)
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(Newser) – Hong Kong pro-democracy candidates have won enough seats in a pivotal legislative election to retain veto power. Pro-democracy candidates on Monday secured more than the 24 seats needed in the 70-seat Legislative Council to give them the power to block attempts by the city's government to enact unpopular or controversial legislation. The winners included a group of young candidates who took part in massive 2014 pro-democracy street protests and are now seeking to change the way the city is governed by Beijing, reports the AP, which describes the elections as the most pivotal since Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997.

The newcomers were riding a rising tide of anti-China sentiment as they challenged formidably resourced pro-Beijing rivals for seats. Some backed the previously unthinkable idea of independence for Hong Kong, which has added to divisions within the broader pro-democracy movement and overshadowed the election. Last month, officials disqualified six pro-independence candidates in an attempt to tamp down the debate, though other candidates with similar views made the cut. The pro-democracy candidates now retain the power to veto legislation—including a possible renewed attempt to enact Beijing's controversial election revamp that triggered the 2014 street protests