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Friday, August 07, 2020, 19:45
Disqualifying advocates of separatism from election is in line with international norms
By Yang Sheng
Friday, August 07, 2020, 19:45 By Yang Sheng

Nominations of 12 Legislative Council aspirants including Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Dennis Kwok Wing-hang were disqualified by returning officers of the Electoral Affairs Commission according to the Elections Ordinance and Legislative Council Ordinance. The returning officers’ decisions to disqualify those nominees were without question constitutionally and legally sound, because they were based on indisputable jurisprudential grounds and sufficient evidence proving those people cannot and do not meet certain requirements for LegCo election candidates.

The SAR government rightly stands firmly behind the returning officers’ decisions according to existing law. That the government promised not to tolerate any insult, intimidation or threat to the returning officers once again shows the public that it is a responsible and accountable government committed to safeguarding Hong Kong’s constitutional order, the legality and dignity of the LegCo election so as to ensure “one country, two systems” remains fully effective as long as necessary.

Internationally speaking, it is impossible for any other country or administrative region to allow the likes of those 12 devious characters to run for legislative seats, unless they welcome foreign interference in their internal affairs and attempts to paralyze or even subvert the government

The Legislative Council Ordinance stipulates in Article 40(1)(b)(i)  that LegCo election nominees must declare clearly that they will uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Meeting this requirement is crucial to qualifying for LegCo election candidacy. In its statement on July 30 supporting the returning officers in disqualifying those 12 nominees, the SAR government spelled out five reasons for the returning officers’ decisions, including supporting “Hong Kong independence”,  “self-determination” and/or “self-determination” with Hong Kong independence as an option, seeking foreign interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs and opposing in principle the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR.

The five reasons help explain the constitutional and legal requirements that LegCo election nominees must meet to qualify as candidates. The 12 opposition figures were disqualified precisely because they tick one or more of the five “boxes” and are therefore deemed incapable of fulfilling a legislative councilor's responsibilities according to relevant laws. The returning officers undoubtedly performed their duty faithfully in keeping unqualified nominees from entering the seventh-term LegCo election as candidates and in doing so clarified the requirements for LegCo election nominees to qualify as candidates.

Before deciding to disqualify the 12 nominees, the returning officers sought their confirmation on meeting the crucial requirements according to relevant laws but only received tongue-in-cheek, evasive and non-committal replies from them. Wong went so far as to deny he has the ability and desire to beg foreign powers for pressure on China including Hong Kong or to interfere in Hong Kong politics. Their replies lacked sincerity and credibility and therefore failed to convince the returning officers of any conclusion other than they are unqualified as LegCo election candidates.

The returning officers did not believe the 12 questionable characters’ “clarification” because their words do not hold up against strong evidence of them consistently saying and acting the opposite of upholding the Basic Law and pledging allegiance to the HKSAR of the People’s Republic of China. As a matter of fact, there is numerous media coverage in all forms and lengths of them advocating Hong Kong independence and self-determination with Hong Kong independence as an option, as well as begging foreign governments for various sanctions against China including the HKSAR in addition to supporting their unlawful behavior. Their well-publicized election platforms featured promises of trying to block the government’s annual budget plan, paralyze the normal operation of the SAR government and/or opposing the National Security Law. Their actions over the years also speak volumes about their outlaw mentality and inability to uphold the Basic Law in deeds as well as words. There is so much undeniable evidence against them that no one in their right mind would have accepted their “clarification” as sincere and true.

Internationally speaking, it is impossible for any other country or administrative region to allow the likes of those 12 devious characters to run for legislative seats, unless they welcome foreign interference in their internal affairs and attempts to paralyze or even subvert the government. That is why the disqualification of those 12 advocates of separatism and unlawful behavior is perfectly in keeping with established norms of political practice around the world and leaves no room for such nonsense as “political censorship” or “denying political rights”.

After disqualifying those 12 nominees, the seventh-term LegCo election can be expected to proceed next year without that many scandals waiting to happen. 

The author is a current affairs commentator.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.


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