The rejection of candidates from Legislative Council elections is not about the political views of the candidates, but rather the advocacy of Hong Kong independence, the Legislative Council President told reporters on Thursday. Jasper Tsang spoke after the disqualification of Edward Leung, other pro-independence candidates, and candidates who support the return of Hong Kong to the UK. He added that he thinks the commission’s actions were in accordance with the law, reported RTHK.

“Political decisions can be legal. Political decisions can be well supported by law”, said Tsang to local media at a World Vision charity event.

Jasper Tsang speaking to the press. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

The returning officer in Edward Leung Tin-kei’s constituency rejected his candidacy because she could not accept that Leung had truly changed his previous stance of supporting Hong Kong independence.

Tsang said: “There are also other lawyers with very good reputations in Hong Kong who have come out and pointed out that the government’s decision, the returning officer’s decisions, were entirely legal,” he said.

He also said that the idea of Hong Kong independence “is entirely inconsistent with the basic law, which of course, as seen by the central government and the SAR government, should not be allowed in popular elections at all. So we are talking about this one very particular, very serious problem.”

Edward Leung Tin-kei. Photo: Cloud.

“No matter how many controversies there are based on the law, I hope that everybody, especially those who persist in advocating Hong Kong independence, understand that this is not allowed under One Country, Two Systems,” said Tsang. He said that the matter must be “treated solemnly” and added that the Hong Kong government and many Hongkongers do not want to see the Legislative Council become a stage for advertising Hong Kong independence.

Tsang also said he did not believe that disqualification means one will be stripped of political rights for the rest of their life. After he was disqualified, Leung said on an RTHK program: “I have been stripped of my political rights for my entire life.”


Chantal Yuen

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.