The Electoral Affairs Commission has disqualified Chan Ho-tin, candidate for the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, from running in the Legislative Council election this September.

The party said in a statement that the government has “ignited a constitutional crisis” by stripping the election rights of Hong Kong people on the basis of their political views.

“We are honoured to be the first party to be banned by the Hong Kong communist colonial government from running in a democratic election on the basis of political views,” read the statement.

Update: Independence advocates barred from Hong Kong election as they ‘cannot uphold Basic Law’, says gov’t

hong kong national party chan ho-tin
Photo: SocREC screencap, via Facebook.

The statement did not directly state the reason for the ban, but said that “[since] the government used ‘violation of Article 1 of the Basic Law’ as a reason to stop someone from running now, it could use ‘violation of Article 23 of the Basic Law’ to ban Hong Kong people – who support protecting democracy, human rights and freedom – from running in the future.”

Article 1 of the Basic Law stipulates that “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China.”

Article 23 of the Basic Law was the national security law targeting subversion and sedition which was abandoned in the face of mass opposition in 2003.

See also: Legco hopefuls launch legal challenge following gov’t’s new ‘One China’ election pledge

It urged all pro-democracy parties to boycott the election.

The party also said that it would not stop advocating for Hong Kong independence.

Chan submitted his nomination to run in New Territories West on July 18. He did not sign the controversial new “pledge” that related to upholding three Basic Law articles on China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong.

He received an email from the constituency’s returning officer a week later, asking whether he still supports Hong Kong independence, after declaring he would uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to Hong Kong on the nomination form.

“Your request does not relate to any matter in respect of which you are by law entitled to request information and is irrelevant to the validity of my nomination,” Chan said in a reply. “If you can inform me of which basis you are entitled to make such a request, I will consider it. The political views I hold and advocate for are a matter solely for consideration by the voters in the constituency in which I propose to stand, not for you as the Returning Officer.”

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.