Hong Kong Bans Pro-Independence Candidate From Upcoming Election

  • Constitution, basic law say city is inalienable part of China
  • Person advocating independence can’t fulfill legislator duties

Chan Ho Tin.

Photographer: Kin Cheung/AP Photo

Hong Kong has banned a potential candidate from contesting legislative council elections, saying his pro-independence stance violates constitutional tenets that declare the city an inalienable part of China.

Chan Ho-tin, a National Party candidate, was disqualified from the September vote after refusing to sign a declaration acknowledging Hong Kong as an administrative region of China, the South China Morning Post reported. His position is inconsistent with the city’s constitutional and legal status, the government said in a statement posted on its official website.

“The candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws,” according to the statement. A person advocating for independence “cannot possibly uphold the Basic Law or fulfill his duties as a legislator,” the government said, referring to Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.

Calls for Hong Kong’s independence have gained traction since the 2014 pro-democracy “Occupy Central” protests failed to win government concessions for the city’s first direct elections for chief executive next year. Chan’s disqualification may raise questions about the eligibility of candidates with similar positions. He was one of eight so-called localists whose bids to run had yet to be accepted as of Friday, the newspaper reported.

To read more about Hong Kong’s democracy movement, click here.

The independence movement has grown alongside concerns that Communist Party leaders in Beijing are encroaching on the autonomy guaranteed to the city when the U.K. handed it back in 1997. In March, the Hong Kong government threatened to bar the formation of a political party advocating independence from China.

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