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Home / World / Hong Kong’s multiple pro-democracy candidates disqualified from the next election

Hong Kong’s multiple pro-democracy candidates disqualified from the next election



Twelve pro-democracy candidates were formally disqualified on Thursday, including a prominent activist in Hong Kong and former Umbrella Movement leader 2014 Joshua Wong. Others affected include a number of candidates from more traditional pro-democracy parties, as well as several young activists who cut their political teeth in last year’s pro-democracy protest movement.

On Twitter, Wong accused the Chinese government of showing “total disregard for the will of (Hong Kongers)” and of marking on “the last pillar of the city that disappears autonomy.”

In a statement, the Hong Kong government said it supported the decisions by returning officials to “invalidate 1

2 people nominated for this year’s Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election.”

He said the candidates were prescribed on the basis of not respecting the Basic Law, the de facto constitution of Hong Kong, recently extended by a new security law imposed on the city by Beijing, which criminalizes s secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

“Returning officials are still reviewing the validity of other nominations under the laws,” the government added. “We do not rule out the possibility of further nominations being invalidated.”

Election in doubt

Several letters sent online by disqualified candidates by returning officials informing them of their decision cited a previous opposition to security law as a reason for the move.

“The excuse they use is that I describe (the security law) as a dragon law, which shows that I don’t support this sweeping law,” Wong said.

Another disqualified candidate, Dennis Kwok, was advertised for expressing his intention to use his position as a legislator “in such a way as to compel the Government to comply with certain demands,” effectively the work of opposition legislature mostly democratic countries.

The disqualifications come amid widespread reports that the government is preparing to postpone the elections, to be held on September 6, for next year, due to a continuous increase in coronavirus cases in the city.

It is unclear how disqualifications will affect, or whether there will be another round of nominations next year if elections are postponed.

In the statement, the Hong Kong government said it “respects and safeguards the legal rights of Hong Kong people, including the right to vote and the right to stand for election.”

Students arrested

The move to ban candidates from the September election comes a day after Hong Kong police arrested several student activists for allegedly committing the new crime of secession under security law.

Police said those arrested were three men and one woman, aged between 16 and 21.

Although police refused to mention the group or those arrested, the political group Studentlocalism said on Facebook that its members were among those arrested, naming one as former leader Tony Chung.

Studentlocalism was one of several political groups in Hong Kong that announced it was ending operations in the city because of the new security law, although it did not delete its social media pages and said foreign activists they will continue their work.

At a press conference late Wednesday, police spokesman Lee Kwai-wah said the organization was “stationed on setting up a new party supporting Hong Kong’s independence on social media.”

“We want to enforce the laws even if the crimes are committed online. I don’t think you can escape responsibility in cyberspace and commit crimes,” Lee added.




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