Twelve pro-democracy candidates for democracy were formally disqualified on Thursday, including prominent Hong Kong activist and former Umbrel Movement leader Joshua Wong in 2014. Others affected include several candidates from more traditional pro-democracy parties, as well as several young activists who won last year’s protest. democracy have cut off their political teeth.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement that it supported the decisions of returning officials to “revoke 12 candidates for this year’s general election of the Legislative Council (LegCo)”.
She said the candidates had been expelled for failing to abide by a basic law, the de facto Hong Kong Constitution, which recently expanded with a new security law that imposes a city in Beijing that criminalizes segregation, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
“Returning officials are still checking the validity of further nominations according to the law,” the government added. “We do not rule out the possibility that more nominations will be canceled.”
Choices in doubt
Several letters sent online by disqualified candidates for returning officials informing them of their decision cited previous opposition to the security law as the reason for the move.
“The excuse they use is that I describe (the security law) as a draconian law that shows that I do not support this extensive law,” Wong said.
The disqualification comes as a result of extensive reports that the government is preparing to postpone the elections to be held on September 6 until next year, due to the constant increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the city.
It is not clear how this will affect the disqualification or whether another round of nominations will take place next year in the event of a postponement of the election.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement that it “respects and protects the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong, including the right to vote and to stand as a candidate”.
Police said three men and one woman between the ages of 16 and 21 were arrested.
Although police declined to name the group or those arrested, the Studentlocalism political group said on Facebook that its members were among the detainees and named it former leader Tony Chung.
The student speech was one of several political groups in Hong Kong, which announced that it would close its activities thanks to the new security law, although it did not remove its social media pages, and said that activists abroad would continue their work.
Police spokesman Lee Kwai-wah told a news conference late on Wednesday that the organization “published information about the establishment of a new party that defends Hong Kong’s independence on social media.”
“We have to enforce the law, even if the crimes are committed online. Don’t think you can escape responsibility in cyberspace and commit crimes,” Lee added.