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Hong Kong bars 12 activists from standing for election

By Kathy Zhang in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-31 09:18

Returning officers in Hong Kong on Thursday disqualified a dozen aspiring candidates from running for the city's upcoming Legislative Council election.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the central government's liaison office in the city voiced their support of the decisions to invalidate these candidates' nominations, saying the decisions were "well-founded" and made in strict accordance with the Basic Law and the city's electoral laws.

The 12 disqualified election nominees include pro-independence activists Joshua Wong Chifung and Lester Shum, and incumbent lawmakers Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Dennis Kwok Winghang, Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong and Kwok Ka-ki.

They were approached by the returning officers, who are tasked with assessing the eligibility of candidacy for elections, to present their cases by answering questions on their stance in terms of upholding the Basic Law and their allegiance to the special administrative region.

In the written replies to the electoral officers, these candidates, who earlier advocated for the independence of Hong Kong and lobbied foreign countries to sanction the city, took a U-turn on their political stance.

However, the Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (Legislative Council) Regulation stipulates that a returning officer may decide that a candidate is not validly nominated if the candidate's answers to the requests are inconsistent with his declaration to "uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR".

In a statement on Thursday, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said the behaviors of those disqualified candidates have crossed the legal bottom line and have fallen short of the basic political requirement for a lawmaker.

The office pointed to some candidates' previous acts and political agendas including advocating Hong Kong independence, begging for foreign intervention in the city's affairs, pledging to vote down the budget and paralyze the operation of the Hong Kong government if they win a majority at the legislature.

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