Pro-establishment candidate Chan Hoi-yan was elected to the Legislative Council in Sunday’s by-election, taking the seat for the Kowloon West constituency. The newly-elected lawmaker hopes to reduce the pressure on Hong Kong students by introducing a “zero homework policy”.
In Chan’s manifesto, she mentions that Hong Kong’s education system is very exam-oriented, and the heavy workload has led to high levels of stress among both students and parents.
She proposes a “zero homework” policy to give students more free time after school. She wants schools to set aside time within the school day specifically for students to finish their schoolwork under teachers’ supervision. She also suggests that homework be replaced by in-class teaching activities, allowing students to have fun whilst learning.
In addition, Chan wants the government to create university-level institutions with a new learning mode, in which students receive an equal amount of classroom-based learning and workplace internships. She also wants some educational organisations to become “vocational colleges”, to give students more choice regarding their tertiary education.
Chan doesn’t mention in her manifesto how to plans to achieve these goals.
Chan received 106,457 votes – 13,410 more than her main rival, the Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan. Lee ran in place of Lau Siu-lai, who was banned from running after being disqualified from LegCo in 2016. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp had hoped Lee would fill LegCo’s last remaining seat so that it could regain the ability to stop changes from being made to the council’s rule book.
Critics said Lee’s campaign had been affected because some votes for the pro-democracy camp went to another candidate, Frederick Fung Kin-kee, a former ally of the pro-democrats. Fung got 12,509 votes. More than 216,000 voters, or 44.4 per cent of the 487,000 registered, voted before polling stations closed at 10.30pm on Sunday.
Chan said she won because she appealed to voters, rather than because Fung split votes with Lee.
“I think my victory reflected that the voters wish for less quarrelling and confrontation and a higher priority for their well-being,” Chan said.
Despite claiming to be neither pro-democracy nor pro-Beijing, Chan said she was glad that her political beliefs were “highly consistent with that of the pro-establishment bloc”. “I am also very happy to be accepted as a member of the bloc,” Chan said.
After losing Sunday’s by-election, the pan-democrats will be outnumbered 18 to 16 in Legco’s geographical constituencies.
This means they will not be able to stop further changes to the legislature’s rule book, as this requires majority support in both the geographical and functional constituencies.