Returning officers for the Legislative Council election have emailed more candidates who have supported Hong Kong independence in the past to ask whether they still support the cause after submitting the nomination form for their run.

The nomination form contains a declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Localist candidates Civic Passion’s Alvin Cheng Kam-mun and the Hong Kong National Party’s Chan Ho-tin both received similar emails on Monday, and were given around 24 hours to answer. Both said they would be seeking legal advice before answering the questions.

Chan Ho-tin Alvin Cheng
Chan Ho-tin (left) and Alvin Cheng (right). File

But Chan’s party has stated that LegCo candidates have no legal obligation to make any reply regarding their political stances.

“The returning officer has no authority whatsoever to deprive candidates’ right to be elected on the basis of their political ideals,” it stated.

The emails came after the first one was sent to Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung Tin-kei. Leung asked for an extension of the deadline – originally on Saturday morning – to Wednesday morning. The request was approved by the returning officer for the New Territories East constituency on Monday.

Cheng signed the new confirmation form issued by the Electoral Affairs Commission confirming that he will uphold three specific articles of the Basic Law stating that Hong Kong is part of China. Chan and Leung did not sign the form.

Pan-democrats holding signs saying they refuse to sign. Photo: Facebook/Dennis Kwok.

Some of the pan-democratic candidates, who all refused to sign the new form, have received different kinds of “confirmation” of their candidacies.

Lam Cheuk-ting, the Democratic Party candidate in New Territories East, said he received an email from the election regulatory body telling him to pick up labels of voters’ addresses to use in mail campaigns, but it was not mentioned whether his candidacy was confirmed.

“I can’t understand the Registration and Electoral Office – it has not told me my candidacy is confirmed, but they asked me to take the voters’ information – so can I use the material to contact my voters?” he said.

Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung of the Labour Party, who is running in Lam’s constituency, also received a similar notice.

James To Kun-sun, the party’s candidate for the district council “super seat” functional constituency, said he received confirmation of his candidacy late Monday night.

The Civic Party’s Sumly Chan Yuen-sum, also running in To’s constituency, has received confirmation as well.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.