After localist candidate Edward Leung Tin-kei was barred from the Legislative Council election, Tuesday night’s briefing session for candidates turned into protests questioning the election regulatory body’s neutrality.
Leung, who received more than 60,000 votes in the LegCo by-election in February, was barred from running even after declaring that he did not support Hong Kong independence anymore. The returning officer did not accept that he genuinely changed his stance, making her judgement based on media reports, his old Facebook page and public statements.
“Hong Kong is now a dictatorship – under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, there will never be democracy,” he said. “We have no universal suffrage for the Chief Executive election or the Legislative Council, and now the geographical constituency direct election is an election under political censorship, an election under manipulation.”
He said that the 17 per cent of Hong Kong people who support Hong Kong independence – according to a university poll – now belong to a “lower caste.”
“We were required to uphold the Basic Law [to run in the election], but the Basic Law was used to strip us of the election rights stipulated by Article 26 and the freedom of speech stipulated by Article 27 – is this a society of rule of law?” he said. “This is only a society of rule of law on the surface – it’s a society ruled by man in reality.”
“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is our duty – that is the way,” he added. But he stopped short of explaining what a revolution would look like.
He questioned the returning officer’s judgement in not accepting his change in stance, asking whether she lived in his head.
Leung said he will lodge an election petition on September 5 – a day after the election – in an attempt to overrule the result.
He said he will also be leading the election strategy for three Youngspiration candidates – one of whom was named as his “substitute candidate” – and his group Hong Kong Indigenous will put all of its resources into supporting them.
The Human Rights Monitor condemned the decision of the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) as an “unreasonable limitation” to election rights violating the principles of openness, transparency, fairness, and non-discrimination.
The Civic Party also condemned the disqualification of the six pro-independence candidates, saying that it was “political censorship” by the EAC and that the body has lost its neutrality.
Leung was notified of the decision merely three hours before a briefing for candidates hosted by the EAC in Kowloon Bay on Tuesday night.
He attended the briefing as a guest of candidates. He held up his middle finger and swore at Barnabas Fung Wah, chairman of the EAC, in protest before leaving the venue.
The briefing was suspended at least three times as pro-democracy candidates stormed the stage.
Several of the candidates were pulled off the stage by officers. Demosisto chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung was seen being pulled to the ground. His legs were injured in the incident and he sought medical treatment at United Christian Hospital. His party said Law was “attacked by a plainclothes police officer” and that he would file a police report.
Nathan Law was Judo thrown in Candidacy briefing session last night. He injured his left leg from the throw. pic.twitter.com/5QPm7XJXJw
— Demosistō 香港眾志
(@demosisto) August 3, 2016
Pro-Beijing candidate Leticia Lee See-yin also had verbal clashes with Alvin Cheng Kam-mun of Civic Passion.
In a statement, the EAC condemned the “violent actions” of the protesters.