Hong Kong’s move to remove pro-democracy candidates from pro-democracy elections

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong asked for the press, taking a nomination form of a candidate, as he announced his intention to run for the Legislative Council general election in Hong Kong on July 20, 2020.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

The United Kingdom has condemned Hong Kong’s decision to disqualify pro-democracy candidates from the upcoming Legislative Council election. Other critics around the world have also expressed concern over the upcoming elections.

As officials announced on Thursday, at least 12 pro-democracy candidates, including high-profile activist Joshua Wong, have been disqualified in Hong Kong’s upcoming elections. The Hong Kong government “does not rule out the possibility” that more nominees will be disqualified.

Lawmakers Dennis Kwok and Alvin Yeung, as well as Lester Shum, a student leader in the so-called Umbrella Movement, were also barred from standing as candidates in the Legislative Council election.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and a former British colony with a legal and economic system distinct from mainland China and legal election rights.

The Hong Kong government said that 12 potential candidates were disqualified because their nominations were “not in compliance with the requirement under the Legislative Council Ordinance.”

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab rejected the move.

“I condemn the decision to disqualify opposition candidates in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections,” Rab said in a statement on Thursday. “It is clear that he has been disqualified because of his political views, which undermines the integrity and joint declaration of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and the rights and freedoms guaranteed in Hong Kong Basic Law.”

Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is ruled under a “one country, two system” policy. This framework gives the region a largely separate economic and legal system, and gives limited election rights to those living there.

The upcoming election will be Hong Kong’s first after the National Security Act comes into force. Chinese officials said the law is meant to prevent secularism, subversion of state power, counterterrorism activities and foreign interference.

But critics worry that it may undermine the doctrine of “One Country, Two Systems” which was guaranteed under a treaty signed by Britain and China before Hong Kong and sovereignty transfer, and meant to last until 2047 .

The nomination for the election took place on Friday. Voting is scheduled for early September, although media reports suggest it may be delayed due to the coronovirus epidemic.

Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China – A coalition of MPs from various countries including Australia, Canada and Japan said the hurdles were “unacceptable”.

He said in a statement, “The decision to disqualify democratic candidates and anticipated delays in the September Legislative Council election represents unacceptable disruptions of the democratic process in Hong Kong and creates more concern about the erosion of rights and freedoms. “

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Hong Kong to pursue the election as planned.

“According to an official transcript, Pompeo said in a radio program,” they should be held. The people of Hong Kong deserve to have their voices represented by elected officials.

In mid-July, more than 600,000 citizens showed support for young candidates in an informal primary, according to Reuters.

“Beijing has staged several acts to prevent the opposition bloc from taking a majority in Hong Kong’s legislature,” pro-democracy activist Wong said at a press conference on Friday.

He said, “Stopping elections (in) will not stop our cause for democracy, although the government may soon declare democratic aspirations illegal under the new law.” ”

On Thursday, he wrote on Twitter that Beijing is showing “total disregard” for Hong Kong citizens and cursing the city’s “last pillar of fading autonomy”.


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