Hong Kong will host a string of large-scale entertainment events and offer free museum visits to encourage voters to remain in the city for the run-up to the district council election on December 10.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Tuesday said the city would hold an “Election Fun Day” ahead of the poll, with activities including outdoor concerts, drone shows and fun fairs. The public could also enjoy free usage of government facilities, he added.
“We are organising various activities on December 9, the day before the election, in the hopes of enhancing the public’s sense of engagement and the attention attached to the polls, so that the public will vote on December 10,” Lee said ahead of his weekly Executive Council meeting.
The event series will also feature daytime carnivals along Wan Chai and Kwun Tong’s waterfront promenades, similar to those held during the “Hong Kong Night Vibes” campaign to boost consumer spending.
The district council election on December 10 will be the first since the government overhauled the municipal bodies to align with Beijing’s “patriots only” policy direction.
Lee said the events would serve a dual purpose of encouraging local spending and convincing voters to stay in Hong Kong for the poll.
“With the large-scale events, we hope there will be more people in the city so that they can stay in Hong Kong to vote and stay in Hong Kong to spend,” he said. “This is something we have always been promoting.”
As part of the government effort, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will hold sporting activities at six outdoor venues.
Hongkongers can enjoy free entry to the Science Museum, Space Museum, Museum of Art and Wetland Park on December 9, as well as discounted tickets for various historical buildings and monuments.
The Hong Kong Central Library will hold a photography exhibition on the city’s eight disciplinary and auxiliary forces, which will include talks and guided tours for students.
The Environment and Ecology Bureau and KMB will co-host a showcase of vintage and new electric buses in Lai Chi Kok. Families can also join fun days organised by the Education Bureau to help get to know their communities better.
Residents can collect extra points for recycling at outlets run by the city’s Green@Community scheme on the same day.
“The government has the responsibility to communicate the importance of the election to ensure that we can truly elect district councillors who would work for our residents,” Lee said.
Asked if the government was at risk of over-promoting the election, Lee said: “When it comes to voting, there isn’t the best, only better. It’s something that will affect everyone’s lives 365 days a year. Taking the election seriously will only benefit citizens in the long run.”
The government has already brought out a slew of promotional initiatives to get voters to cast their ballots, including a leafleting campaign in Tsim Sha Tsui, informal videos featuring senior Security Bureau and police officials, and poll slogans in weather updates.
In October, the government also set up a “Night Vibes District Council Election” booth to tell Hong Kong about “the benefits brought by the improved district governance system and the reformed district councils in a lively way”.
Pundits have expressed concerns over the revamped district council poll after the opposition camp failed to secure the necessary nominations to run for election.
The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau last month said the revised system would ensure the municipal bodies comprised patriotic and capable office-holders from a range of professions and sectors.
Lee on Tuesday said the “Election Fun Day” could also encourage more of the public to stay in the city and help to stimulate the local economy.
The push to promote local spending came as residents in recent months looked to Shenzhen for more affordable goods and services.