The government said the nomination of a pro-independence Legislative Council election candidate was invalidated as he “cannot possibly uphold the Basic Law or fulfil his duties as a legislator.

Chan Ho-tin of the Hong Kong National Party was notified by the Electoral Affairs Commission on Saturday of the decision.

The Returning Officers have the duty as well as power to make those decisions according to the relevant electoral laws,” a government spokesperson said.

Chan Ho-tin
Chan Ho-tin. Photo: Chan Ho-tin.

The spokesperson said that the returning officer for the New Territories West geographical constituency decided Chan did not comply with section 40(1)(b)(i) of the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap 542).

The section states that the nomination form for candidates includes a declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

“The candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws, since advocating or promoting ‘independence of the HKSAR’ is contrary to the content of the declaration,” the spokesperson said. “Decisions made by the Returning Officers are aimed to ensure that the LegCo election is held in strict accordance with the Basic Law and other applicable laws in an open, honest and fair manner.”

“There is no question of any political censorship, restriction of the freedom of speech or deprivation of the right to stand for elections as alleged by some members of the community,” the spokesperson added.

Legislative Council Ordinance
Legislative Council Ordinance. Photo: GovHK.

Chan, in response, tore apart the letter from the Electoral Affairs Commission in front of reporters on Saturday. “It is a piece of rubbish,” he said.

“Because we didn’t bow down to the People’s Republic of China, they did not let us run,” he said. “As long as we don’t admit to be Chinese, they won’t let us enter the Legislative Council.”

He said the legislature “is officially pronounced dead” after the new political “censorship” measure, adding that people should boycott it.

See also: Hong Kong bans pro-independence National Party from running for election

He also urged Hong Kong people to join him at Admiralty on Saturday evening to express their anger towards the decision.

Chan said the party will write to the United Nations and the UK government to raise the incident to an international level. He will file a judicial review and election petition to challenge the decision.

Pan-democratic parties will stage a protest outside the Chief Executive’s Office at 7:30pm on Saturday protesting against Chan’s disqualification.

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.