Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist banned from elections | News | DW

Andy Chan, who founded the Hong Kong National Party just four months ago, was banned by the city’s electoral affairs commission on Saturday.

The party was informed that Chan’s candidacy to run in the New Western Territories constituency had been “invalidated,” the “South China Morning Post” reported.

“On July 30, the National Party received an email from the government saying it had officially disqualified party chairman Andy Chan,” a statement said on Saturday.

The party, which claims growing support for the semi-autonomous city’s break with mainland China, said it was “honored” to be the first to see a candidate disqualified.

“Even if they prevent the party from participating in the elections, they cannot stop the inevitable process of Hong Kong independence,” the statement added.

A new statement that is controversial

Chan was one of at least 13 pro-democracy candidates who refused to sign a declaration accepting that the city is an “inalienable” part of China, a measure introduced by the Commission earlier this year.

Critics have called the new proclamation political censorship and an attempt to dissuade candidates from advocating Beijing’s self-determination or independence.

But despite threats to challenge that decision in court, officials in Beijing and Hong Kong insist that the defense of independence goes against the Basic Law – the territory’s mini constitution.

On Saturday, a statement by the Hong Kong government reiterated that any candidate who promotes Hong Kong independence “may not be able to uphold the Basic Law or perform his duties as a legislator.”

Support for low escapement

Last week, a survey by the School of Journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that only 17% of Hong Kong citizens supported the idea of ​​breaking with China after 2047. Among those aged 15 to 24, support for independence was almost 40%. .

The date would mark the end of a 50-year “one country, two systems” agreement that China and the United Kingdom signed when the former British colony returned to China in 1997. Beijing agreed that Hong Kong would enjoy more freedoms than others. from China until at least 2047.

Only 4% of those polled thought an escape was a real possibility, according to the survey of Cantonese speakers.

Over the past two decades, critics have accused China of breaking its deal, as Beijing increases its influence in a variety of areas, from politics to the media.

Two years ago, the territory saw a three-month wave of pro-democracy protests that crippled much of Hong Kong Island. The so-called Umbrella Revolution, which peaked at over 100,000, saw a series of sit-ins and street protests, which the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing have denounced as illegal.

mm / rc (AFP, Reuters)

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Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera