Democrat activist Joshua Wong posed for the press while holding the nomination form as he announced his intention to run for the general election to the Hong Kong Legislative Council on July 20, 2020.
Anthony Wallace AFP | Getty images
The United Kingdom has condemned Hong Kong’s decision to disqualify democracy candidates from the upcoming legislative elections. Other critics around the world have also expressed concerns about the upcoming polls.
It came after authorities announced on Thursday that at least 1
Incumbent MPs Dennis Kwok and Alvin Jung, as well as Lester Schum, a student leader in the so-called Time movement was also deprived of candidates in the legislative elections.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and a former British colony, which has a separate legal and economic system from mainland China and limited suffrage.
The Hong Kong government said the 12 potential candidates had been disqualified because their nominations “did not meet the requirement under the Legislative Council Ordinance”.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab rejected the move.
“I condemn the decision to deprive opposition candidates of running in the Hong Kong legislature,” Raab said in a statement Thursday. “It is clear that they were disqualified for their political views, undermining the integrity of ‘one state, two systems’ and the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is governed by a “one country, two systems” policy. This framework provides the territory with a largely separate economic and legal system and allows those living there limited voting rights.
The upcoming elections will be the first in Hong Kong since the national security law came into force. Chinese officials said the law was aimed at banning secession, undermining state power, terrorist activities and foreign interference.
However, critics worry that this could undermine the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, which was guaranteed under a treaty signed by the United Kingdom and China before the transfer of sovereignty to Hong Kong, and meant remaining in place until 2047.
Nominations for the election end on Friday. The vote is scheduled for early September, although media reports suggest it may be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance for China – a coalition of lawmakers from various countries, including Australia, Canada and Japan – said the obstacles were “unacceptable”.
“The decision to disqualify Democratic candidates and the expected delay in the September parliamentary elections are unacceptable obstacles to the democratic process in Hong Kong and raise further concerns about the erosion of the city’s rights and freedoms,” the statement said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Hong Kong to resume the election as planned.
“They must be held. Hong Kongers deserve to have their vote represented by the elected officials who vote in this election,” Pompeo said on the radio program, according to an official transcript.
More than 600,000 citizens in mid-July supported younger nominees for the unofficial primary, according to Reuters.
At a news conference on Friday, pro-democracy activist Wong said: “Beijing has taken a number of steps to prevent the opposition bloc from taking a majority in Hong Kong’s legislature.”
“My ban on holding (non) elections would not stop our cause for democracy, although the government may soon declare democratic aspirations illegal under the new law,” he added.
On Thursday, he wrote on Twitter that Beijing was “completely disregarding” what the people of Hong Kong wanted and abolished “the last pillar of the city’s disappearing autonomy.”