Posts Tagged ‘League of Social Democrats’

Hong Kong Protest Organizers Arrested Ahead of Expected Visit by China’s President

April 27, 2017

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong police arrested nine pro-democracy activists on Thursday, adding to a recent crackdown said to be aimed at defanging opposition protests ahead of an expected visit by President Xi Jinping of China in July.

“They want to silence the opposition and discourage the general public from participating in protests,” said Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats and one of the nine people arrested over their roles in a November protest against China’s move to block two separatists from taking office as local legislators.

The arrests on Thursday followed a series of recent legal actions against opposition politicians and protest organizers in Hong Kong, a former British colony, and came just two months before the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, when President Xi is expected to visit the semiautonomous territory.

Pro-democracy groups are planning large protests against what they see as Beijing’s tightening grip on the city’s freedom, supposedly guaranteed under an arrangement known as “one country, two systems.” The groups have increasingly called for greater autonomy, if not independence, from China.

On Wednesday, two pro-independence politicians, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung, and three of their assistants were charged over their attempt to enter Hong Kong’s legislative chamber after it refused to swear them in because they inserted anti-China snubs into their oaths of office.

Last month, the Hong Kong authorities brought criminal charges against nine other protest organizers, including the three founders of the huge protests in 2014 that paralyzed streets in several parts of the city for weeks.

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More than pro-democracy 200 people took part in the protest march from Causeway Bay to the chief executive-elect’s office in Hong Kong, Sunday, April 23, 2017. Photo: Sam Tsang
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Disqualified lawmakers Yau Wai-ching, 25, (L) and Baggio Leung, 30, pose outside government headquarters in Hong Kong, China March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

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 (Anyone who criticizes the Chinese government on WeChat is likely to be given special attention)

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Bookseller Lam Wing-kee (C) takes part in a protest march with pro-democracy lawmakers and supporters in Hong Kong, China June 18, 2016.
REUTERS/BOBBY YIP
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 (Contains many  links to articles on the Chinese human rights lawyers)

Domocracy: Hong Kong protesters march for ‘genuine universal suffrage’ one month after Carrie Lam elected leader

April 23, 2017

More than 200 people also express opposition to way city’s leader is elected

By Jeffie Lam
South China Morning Post

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 4:15pm

Leaders of 2014 protest in Hong Kong to face charges — Freedom of expression, right to peaceful assembly “under a sustained attack” in Hong Kong

March 28, 2017

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Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage

Occupy Central founders (from left) Chan Kin Man, Benny Tai and Chu Yiu Ming kicking off the movement in Hong Kong on Aug 31, 2014.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG • Police have cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists, saying they would be charged over the Umbrella Movement mass protest, a day after a pro-Beijing candidate was chosen as the city’s new leader.

The move yesterday provoked anger and disbelief among democrats, and heightened political tension in the Chinese-ruled city.

Former chief secretary Carrie Lam was on Sunday chosen by a 1,200-person committee to lead the city. She pledged in her victory speech to bridge political divisions that have hindered policymaking and legislative work.

 Carrie Lam met Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Monday morning. Photo: Handout

Yet, less than 24 hours later, several students and academics who took part in the 2014 pro-democracy movement, also known as Occupy Central, said they received phone calls from the police informing them that they faced criminal charges.

Rights group Amnesty International said the police charges showed that the city’s freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly were “under a sustained attack”.

All nine activists reported to Wan Chai police station last night, with around 200 supporters gathering outside.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan said she received a call from the police yesterday morning, telling her she would be charged with causing a public nuisance, with a maximum sentence of seven years.

“They said it was related to the ‘illegal occupation’ of 2014,” she said, describing it as a “death kiss” from incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying, who will hand over the reins to Mrs Lam on July 1.

Ms Chan said she was arrested at the end of the protests, but had never been charged.

The police did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Asked by reporters about the timing, Mrs Lam said she could not intervene with prosecutions carried out by the administration of Mr Leung, who protesters say ordered the firing of tear gas on them in 2014.

“I made it very clear that I want to unite society and bridge the divide that has been causing us concern, but all these actions should not compromise the rule of law in Hong Kong and also the independent prosecution process that I have just mentioned,” said Mrs Lam.

Mrs Lam met Mr Leung earlier yesterday. They shook hands and expressed confidence in a “smooth and effective” leadership transition.

The next few months will be critical for them, with Chinese President Xi Jinping expected to pay a visit on July 1 to celebrate Hong Kong’s 20th anniversary of the handover from British rule, with large protests expected.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Hong Kong: Carrie Lam Says She Will Unify Divided City — As HK Police Round Up To Arrest Pro-Democracy Leaders

March 27, 2017

‘Obviously the government didn’t want to affect the election,’ says one leader, who faces public nuisance charge

By Chris Lau and Joyce Ng
South China Morning Post

Monday, March 27, 2017, 3:30 pm

Police cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists after election of Carrie Lam, “Beijing’s wet nurse” — “Political persecution begins again,” democracy advocates say

March 27, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Hong Kong’s chief executive-elect Carrie Lam has refused to comment directly on the arrest of three democracy activists
HONG KONG (AFP) – Police cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists Monday saying they would be charged over the Umbrella Movement mass protests, a day after a pro-Beijing candidate was chosen as the city’s new leader.

Carrie Lam was selected as the new chief executive Sunday by a committee dominated by pro-China voters, but promised to try to unify the deeply divided city.

The vote was dismissed as a sham by democracy campaigners who fear Beijing is tightening its grip on semi-autonomous Hong Kong and say Lam will be no different from its unpopular current leader, Leung Chun-ying.

Those concerns were heightened Monday when police informed several leading campaigners who took part in the Umbrella Movement of 2014 that they would be charged in connection with the rallies.

The protests saw tens of thousands take to the streets calling for fully free leadership elections, but failed to win concessions from Beijing.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan told AFP she had received a call from police Friday morning telling her she would be charged with causing a public nuisance, with a maximum sentence of seven years.

“They said it was related to the ‘illegal occupation’ of 2014,” she said, describing it as a “death kiss” from Leung, who will step down in July.

Chan said she had been arrested immediately after the protests, but had never been charged.

She will report to a police station Monday evening and will go to court Thursday.

Chan added she would take responsibility for participation in “civil disobedience activity”, but said the timing undermined Lam’s unity pledge.

Activist Raphael Wong of the League of Social Democrats told AFP he would also be charged with public nuisance and blamed Leung.

“As Carrie Lam talks about unity, they are saying you don’t need it,” he told AFP.

Professor Chan Kin-man, a founding member of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central, one of the groups behind the protests, also received a call from police informing him of an impending charge and called the move “ridiculous”.

“It shows the government has no intention to heal the divisions,” Chan said.

Local media reported that police informed a total of nine activists that they would face charges.

Lam did not directly respond over whether the move would further divide Hong Kong.

“Prosecution actions are undertaken independently by the department of justice,” she told reporters.

She repeated that she wanted unity, but said her approach “should not compromise the rule of law in Hong Kong”.

Pro-democracy campaigner Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the Umbrella Movement, described the crackdown as “political persecution”.

He was not among those who received a police notice of charges.

Wong, legislator Nathan Law and former student protester Alex Chow were all convicted last year for taking part in, or inciting others to take part in, an anti-China protest that led up to the major rallies.

They were given community service or suspended sentences.

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Resolution for Hong Kong’s Future — Hongkongers themselves should decide the political status of Hong Kong

Tanya Chan Suk-chong  released a declaration entitled “Resolution for Hong Kong’s Future”. It was signed by more than 30 young individuals from various pro-democracy groups and stated that Hongkongers themselves should decide the political status of Hong Kong after 2047.

tanya chan

Tanya Chan.  Photo: Apple Daily/HKFP remix.

Chan, a co-founder of the Civic Party and former lawmaker, said: “Even though I’m in a political party myself, speaking as a signatory to the declaration I can say that we’re not releasing this for the upcoming Legislative Council elections. Some of the signatories are scholars. We’re not targeting just one or two elections,” Chan said on RTHK.

Chan also said that in light of the questions Hong Kong is facing regarding its future, it would be irresponsible to look at just these elections and then feel satisfied at having solved the problem.

hong kong's future resolution

“As a Civic Party member, this is even more so – I won’t say that [the declaration] will affect the elections. What we’re talking about here is ‘internal self-determination’ – it does not include [ideas of] Hong Kong independence. We hope that it will determine the political structure for self-rule.”

“If we can’t implement internal self-rule, then maybe we would look at external self-rule such as Hong Kong independence, but I think everyone understands that – at this point in time – we do not have the conditions to discuss this.”

Chan also said that right now, Hong Kong lacked the relevant legal basis for independence.

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/04/22/2047-declaration-demands-internal-self-rule-not-independence-says-civic-party-signatory-tanya-chan/

Hong Kong’s Next Leader is Carrie Lam — “Hong Kong needs new thinking.” — “Fake” Chinese-style democracy won’t work

March 26, 2017

Hong Kong: Anti-China Anger Expressed During HK Election

September 4, 2016

Hong Kong votes in contentious election — Big turnout shows public interest in Hong Kong’s future

September 4, 2016

Reuters and AFP

© Anthony Wallace, AFP| An elderly couple walk past campaign banners during the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong on September 4, 2016.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-09-04

Hong Kong voted on Sunday in its first major election since pro-democracy protests in 2014 and one of its most contentious ever, with a push for independence among disaffected younger voters stoking tension with China’s government.

The vote is for a 70-seat legislative council in which Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition is hoping to maintain a one-third veto bloc in the face of better mobilised and funded pro-Beijing rivals.

The former British colony was handed back to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement that promised to maintain the global financial hub’s freedoms and separate laws for at least 50 years, but gave ultimate control to Beijing.

A growing yearning for independence and animosity towards Beijing in the southern coastal city pose one of the central government’s most pressing domestic political issues.

The stakes for Beijing are particularly high this weekend as G20 leaders gather in the eastern city of Hangzhou for a summit.

Hong Kong’s opposition now controls 27 of the legislature’s 70 seats, giving it the power to block policies and some laws including legislation it sees as eroding freedoms.

Some 3.8 million of Hong Kong’s seven million people are eligible to vote and the result is due early on Monday.

It will give an indication of anti-China sentiment some two years after tens of thousands took to Hong Kong streets to demand full democracy from China’s Communist Party leaders.

A younger generation of voters who joined those protests is openly advocating independence – a push some people warn could jeopardize Hong Kong’s economic and political future.

China’s stability-obsessed leaders have categorically rejected any possibility of independence.

Hong Kong officials are generally supportive of Beijing and keen to preserve “one country, two systems”, though confidence in China’s commitment to the formula has been shaken by recent incidents including the abduction of several Hong Kong booksellers by Chinese agents.

“You may be disappointed by the fact that Hong Kong, the city we love, has not been making more progress,” Carrie Lam, the head of Hong Kong’s civil service, told reporters as she cast her ballot.

“I urge you to vote because indifference will not lead us anywhere.”

Beijing Campaign

Many residents see the 79 days of student-led protests in 2014 as a turning point in the city’s politics even though Beijing gave no ground.

Since then, many have decried what they see as increasing Beijing interference to stifle dissent and civil liberties.

Six pro-democracy election candidates were disqualified for refusing to uphold a clause in Hong Kong’s mini constitution, or Basic Law, stating it is an “inalienable” part of China.

“The rights we should have under the Basic Law don’t belong to us anymore,” said Baggio Leung of Youngspiration, a group pushing for self-determination.

“We are telling Beijing we don’t believe they are going to protect us.”

China has launched a campaign to try to sway the vote through its channels of influence including state companies and grassroots associations..

“It is an open secret that they … pull strings, they make threats, they plant votes,” said Anson Chan, a former senior Hong Kong official.

The city’s Beijing-backed leader, Leung Chun-ying, rejected any suggestion of interference.

“Our election is a democratic one,” Leung told reporters after casting his vote, when an activist threw a sandwich at him.

“Voters have their own free choice and don’t need anyone to tell them how to vote.”

(REUTERS)

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Hong Kong Legco elections watch: voter turnout up compared to 2012 polls

Hong Kong 2016 Legislative Council elections.

By Gary Cheung, Joyce Ng and Emily Tsang
South China Morning Post

Legislator “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung has been out on the hustings for his allies in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon East – but not in his own base New Territories East.

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The League of Social Democrats’ veteran said he was not giving up his campaign, although opinion polls show he could be at risk of losing.

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“My allies need a boost while I enjoy higher popularity,” Leung said as he flanked People Power’s Tam Tak-chi at Ngau Chi Wan at 2.30pm. My supporters don’t just look at what I do today, but what I’ve been doing.”

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Leung criticised Benny Tai’s Thunder Go scheme of strategic voting, saying it would skew election results.

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The turnout rate for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections on Sunday morning was slightly higher than that of the corresponding period in 2012.

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Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at the Chinese University, was confident the turnout rate would surge in the evening, claiming many voters would come out to support their candidates.

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By 1.30pm, the overall turnout rate for the general election in five geographical constituencies districts was 18.88 per cent ­­– slightly lower than 18.49 per cent in 2012 ­­– with 713,452 voters having cast their ballots.

Candidates posters outside Aberdeen Port Centre on Sunday. Photo: Edward Wong

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As of 1.30pm, Hong Kong Island had the highest turnout rate of 19.82 per cent, while the lowest was in New Territories West at 18.33 per cent, according to hourly data.

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‘Get out and vote’: Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying casts his ballot as polling stations open across Hong Kong

Overall, the number of voters who had cast their ballots was higher than 641,022 in the first six hours in the 2012 Legco polls. The total turnout rate for that poll was 53.05 per cent.

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A total of 3.78 million registered electors are eligible to cast their vote in the Legco elections at 571 ordinary polling stations and 24 dedicated polling stations across Hong Kong.

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There are 213 candidates belonging to 84 lists who are competing for 35 seats in the five geographical constituencies.

“The turnout rate so far was actually not bad and the number of voters who had cast ballots was higher than the corresponding period four years ago,” Choy said. “The eventual turnout rate will be relatively high in the light of fierce competition among rival camps and intense mobilisation by candidates.”

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Choy, who has been studying the city’s elections for more than two decades, believed a substantial number of voters would choose to go to polling stations after 5pm to support candidates who was in an uncertain and even critical situation.

Voters outside a polling station at Aberdeen on Sunday. Photo: Edward Wong

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-Yee, seeking re-election in Hong Kong Island, said it was too early to say if the turnout rate would be unfavourable to her.

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“It’s too early to say,” she aid. “The weather is good today. Maybe people will vote after playing ball games in the morning.”

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Hong Kong’s election watchdog receives almost 200 complaints on voting day

Meeting a group of supporters at Taikoo, Ip said there was no room for complacency even though she was doing well in opinion polls before Sunday.

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“We cannot make a judgment yet because there are people saying that I have enough votes, but I urge voters to support me anyway,” she said.

Legco candidate Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, pictured in Taikoo on Sunday, urged voters to turn out and not be complacent. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Choy said some voters might choose to go to polling stations later because of their plans for strategic voting to ensure the largest number of candidates whose political aspirations they supported were returned.

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Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting had mapped out a “Thunderbolt plan” for pan-democrats to grab half of the seats in this year’s Legislative Council election.
Making their voices heard: Hong Kong voters flock to polling stations for crucial Legco elections

Tai, an HKU law professor, was confident that non-establishment candidates could win half the 70 seats up for grabs, provided they put aside their sectoral interests and personal agendas to work under a concerted strategy. Tai had urged the pan-democrats to sign up at least 10,000 voters in each of the five geographical constituencies. They would withhold their ballots until the last moment, to vote tactically in response to exit poll results.

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Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Angus Chiu Chi-fan, organisers of the “Thunderbolt plan”. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

But eventually only 25,000 voters across five constituencies signed up for the ambitious plan.

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Localist Wong Yeung-tat slams Tai’s scheme for strategic voting, which recommends strategic voters to elect another radical Tam Tak-chi in Kowloon East instead of him in order to uphold the pan-democrats’ critical minority in Legco.

This came after Tai’s Thunder Go plan last night announced that more than 70 per cent of those who took part in his internal poll through Telegram said they did not choose Wong.

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“This is crazy,” the Civic Passion candidate told the Post while canvassing for votes in San Po Kong. “Other polls show I am competing for he last seat with Paul Tse Wai-chun. If Benny Tai made that appeal he would in turn help Paul Tse win.”

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In some polling stations, there are notably more middle-aged voters queuing to take their ballots.

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At around noon time, queues of voters lining up at the Sha Tin Town Hall were especially long at three out of six of the queues for middle-aged voters.

Localist Wong Yeung-tat (right) outside a polling station on Hong Kong Island on Sunday. Photo: Tony Cheung

There were more than a dozen waiting at the three registration queues for voters with identity card number heading with alphabet D to E, F and G to K.

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Katherine Ma, 50, who works for a tertiary institution in Hong Kong, said she spent 20 minutes in total to make her vote as she queued at the category G to K.

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“It took me ten minutes to get my identity card registered and another ten minutes to wait for the ballot paper for my super seat vote. It has not been so long in my past experience,” Ma said.
Choy said it was notable from previous elections that young voters were more inclined to come out to vote in evening of the polling day.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2014517/hong-kong-legco-elections-watch-voter-turnout-compared-2012

 

Hong Kong: Declaration document saying Hong Kong is an “inalienable” part of China is unnecessary, illegal and wrong

August 2, 2016

Sherif Elgebeily says the Electoral Affairs Commission runs the risk of being seen as suppressing dissent with its decision to bar a localist candidate from running

COMMENTARY/Opinion

By Sherif Elgebeily
South China Morning Post
 

Last weekend, the Electoral Affairs Commission decided to invalidate the candidacy of Hong Kong National Party member Chan Ho-tin for the upcoming Legislative Council election. The exact reasons behind this are unclear, but other candidates who also refused to sign a newly imposed declaration form have yet to receive notice on the validity of their candidacies, fuelling concern.

The pledge to uphold the Basic Law is a fundamental part of the eligibility for candidacy, as outlined on the nomination form; it is for this reason that the ineligibility of Democratic Progressive Party of Hong Kong’s Yeung Ke-cheong – who refused to sign the nomination form itself – is legally valid.

Should Chan have been disqualified?

On one level, the additional declaration form is obsolete, as it simply duplicates existing obligations. Worse, it also appears to contravene both the rule of law in Hong Kong and the Basic Law in its effect.

First, there is no legal basis for the demand of an additional form, and the invalidation of candidacy on these grounds is beyond the powers of the commission. Any reference to such a form is absent in the law governing the election procedure; moreover, an exhaustive list of requirements for nomination is provided for under Section 40 of the Legislative Council Ordinance. Any legally enforceable declaration or criteria for the nomination of individuals would require amendments of the existing law, a path which has not been followed.

The commission has no absolute power to create new law

The commission has no absolute power to create new law. The form is also undermined by the commission’s own guidelines, which make mention of five explicit criteria for eligibility of nomination. They do not include the submission of a declaration form. These paradoxes raise alarm over the rule of law in Hong Kong, notably the separation of powers between government bodies and the supremacy of the law in an administrative context.

Second, in disqualifying candidates who are seen to advocate independence, on the grounds of failure to complete the declaration form, the commission has barred popularly supported candidates from representing their supporters. This infringes not only the rights of Hong Kong citizens to be elected, but also that of all citizens to elect their own representatives, and amounts to a violation of Article 26 of the Basic Law. To do so on the grounds of political belief also falls foul of articles 27 and 32 on free speech and the freedom of conscience. It is at best contradictory for the commission to disqualify candidates on the grounds of undermining the Basic Law while violating that document in doing so.

 Edward Leung speaks to the press last month. Leung received votes from some 66,000 Hong Kong people in the New Territories East by-election this year. Photo: AFP

Chan’s disqualification reflects a worrying trend of the regulation of Legco members. By eliminating voices of dissent at the ballot-paper stage, the authorities appear to be telling selected political groups that their opinions are either not welcome or not legitimate.

This rigid stance defies reality in today’s Hong Kong. Not all localist groups can be labelled anomalies. This year, for example, Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung Tin-kei won nearly 16 per cent of the vote in the New Territories East – over 66,000 voters in real terms. These citizens deserve to be heard.

Perhaps more importantly, voting patterns show that first-time and younger voters have been decidedly more involved in the election process, not only through casting ballots but also standing themselves. A new generation – those born after the handover – have reached voting age, and they care more about the status of Hong Kong and the full realisation of Basic Law freedoms than they do about the platforms that have traditionally formed political manifestos and campaigns. The government has a duty to engage with this demographic.

In essence, the decision to invalidate Legco candidacies over political stances is tantamount to the invalidation of the legitimacy of the voice of the youth today. From both a legal and political standpoint, the declaration form was unnecessary, illegal and threatens the future of the rule of law in Hong Kong.

Sherif Elgebeily (@selgebeily) is Bingham Centre International Rule of Law Visiting Fellow 2016, and a lecturer with the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law

The Bingham Centre is a part of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Hong Kong: Pro-China Election Rules Changes Again Bring Out The Protesters

August 2, 2016
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Anyone running for the legislature must sign a document pledging to support the notion that Hong Kong is an “inalienable” part of China — If you don’t sign, you cannot be part of the election….
By Reuters
Tuesday, 2 August 2016 14:53 GMT

* Candidates must sign form rejecting independence stance

* Opponents say that is assault on democracy

* Four candidates disqualified so far

By Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Dozens of masked demonstrators tried to force their way into an electoral meeting in Hong Kong on Tuesday to protest against a new bar on anyone running for the legislature who refuses to declare the territory an “inalienable” part of China.

They were among hundreds of protesters gathered outside the meeting, a briefing for prospective parliamentarians, shouting for Hong Kong’s independence.

Inside the venue, some candidates who had been approved to run for election protested the decision to disqualify others.

Members of the League of Social Democrats and People Power tried several times to charge the stage and take the microphone before being pushed back by security, forcing the meeting to be suspended at least three times.

Politicians from other pro-democracy parties chanted: “No more political elimination!” and “Defend a fair election!”

The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) said last month that potential candidates for the September Legislative Council election must sign an additional “confirmation form” declaring Hong Kong an inalienable part of China and acknowledging that advocating independence could disqualify them from the election.

Hong Kong has greater freedoms than mainland China and separate laws that were guaranteed for 50 years as part of a “one country, two systems” framework negotiated with the British when they handed back their former colony.

But there has been political unrest in recent years centring on Beijing’s refusal to allow fully democratic elections and its perceived meddling in the special administrative region.

Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong came out in support of the EAC’s new form while three Hong Kong politicians filed a request for an urgent judicial review.

So far the EAC has rejected four candidates. Activists have posted personal attacks on some of the EAC officers responsible for the decision, actions that the Hong Kong government has condemned.

Edward Leung Tin-kei, who was rejected as a candidate by the EAC on Tuesday, responded by saying the city was ruled by a “dictatorship”, local broadcaster RTHK reported.

Leung, a leader of the group Hong Kong Indigenous was one of the first street activists to move into mainstream politics when he won an unexpected 15 percent of the vote in a February legislative by-election.

He had signed the EAC’s confirmation form, saying his top priority was to get elected. (Writing by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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