There will be few immediate political consequences in Hong Kong because the councils have limited powers, only a small budget and a mandate restricted to hyper-local issues such as parks, bus stops and waste collection.
But the pro-democratic landslide was a defiant rebuke to the government’s frequent argument that its hardline policies had the support of a “silent majority”, who had been cowed by protester violence. In a peaceful vote, the city’s people came out against them.
It will also give Communist party chiefs in Beijing – who have backed the government as it dug into confrontation with demonstrators – cause to reconsider their approach. Hong Kong’s protests are perhaps the biggest challenge to China’s autocratic president, Xi Jinping, since he took power in 2012.