A judge has rejected a judicial review application from student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung arguing that the age restriction for candidates who wish to run in the Legislative Council elections should be lowered to 18.

Wong, who is currently the secretary general of pro-democracy party Demosistō, will by 19 when the Legislative Council elections are held this September. However, laws currently require that candidates be over 21 years of age.

Nathan Law Joshua Wong june 4 vigil tiananmen 2016
Nathan Law and Joshua Wong. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

High Court judge Thomas Au Hing-cheung, said on Wednesday that the age restriction was a political matter and that the court should not interfere. Au also said that voters and candidates are different, because voters do not have to hold any public offices or carry any responsibilities. Current laws are aimed at ensuring that elected candidates are mature enough to carry out responsibilities and work, he added.

Wong previously said that “the current Elections Ordinance blocks young people between the age of 18 to 20 from having equal rights in voting and being elected, which are listed under the Bill of Rights Ordinance and the Basic Law.”

Au ruled that Wong’s points could not be reasonably argued and that the prospects of success were low.

Photo: 香港眾志 Demosistō via Facebook.

Outside the courthouse, Wong said that he had hoped the new Legislative Council would represent the youth. He will discuss with his lawyer whether he will appeal the decision and also said that Demosistō will consider fielding Chairperson Nathan Law and Vice-Chairperson Oscar Lai in the elections.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.