HONG KONG—July has been a month of constant struggle for this city in recent years, but especially since the protests last summer, which raised the stakes in the quest for universal suffrage. This year is even more chaotic: A third wave of COVID-19 infections has revived worries that Hong Kong, one of the densest cities in the world, may soon see an overwhelmed hospital system. Meanwhile, some of the pro-democracy movement’s organizers, still in their teens, have been targeted by the newly formed secret police, taken away in the night. 

And now, in truly Trumpian fashion, September’s election for legislators’ seats has been called off, wiping away what was expected to be a landslide win for the opposition—and keeping some of Beijing’s puppets in their seats for at least another year.

On Friday local time, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said she had made the decision to delay the September vote, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a risk for the three million or more people who may come out to cast their ballots. Lam also mentioned that candidates have been unable to organize campaign events due to social distancing rules, and that international travel restrictions prevent eligible voters who are overseas from returning to the city.

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