Pro-independence Legislative Council election candidate Chan Chak-to, one of the few members of the camp who was allowed to run, has defended his stance once again at an election forum for the Kowloon East geographical constituency.

The election forum hosted by Commercial Radio on Monday started off with a question from the hosts asking about candidates’ stances on independence. Chan said: “I support Hong Kong independence… it’s the only way out.”

He said he was “very worried” that returning officers may take action against him, but he denied that he made a false declaration in pledging to uphold the Basic Law. “Is it violating the Basic Law to discuss independence or to advocate independence? Can a common citizen violate the Basic Law? It should not be possible.”

Chan Chak-to
Chan Chak-to. Photo: Facebook/KowloonEastCommunity.

Chan advocates independence after 2047, when the Basic Law’s promise of unchanged capitalism and way of life expires, the Kowloon East Community group candidate said.

“Is it a problem to talk about independence after 2047? I don’t see any [problems],” he said. “Before 2047, we should have a wide discussion to let Hong Kong people understand…[Chan’s time was up before he could finish his sentence].”

Chan, who recently started speaking out about his stance, was confirmed as a candidate after five were rejected for supporting independence or a return to the UK, in view of which returning officers considered them unable to genuinely uphold the Basic Law.

Wong Kwok-kin
Wong Kwok-kin. File

Pro-Beijing camp candidate Patrick Ko Tat-pun, of the Voice of Loving Hong Kong, claimed that Chan was breaking Hong Kong law.

“After this programme ends, I can consider reporting you to the police station,” Ko said, saying that Chan broke his pledge, and that inciting independence was a violation of the Basic Law.

Chan was then questioned by the Federation of Trade Unions’ Wong Kwok-kin in a brief encounter.

Wong: You speak China’s Cantonese language, you use Chinese characters, you have Chinese blood, your ancestors’ roots are in China – how would you achieve independence?

Chan: I am a Hongkonger – I don’t know why you want to link me with China in any way.

Wong: But you speak Mainland China’s Cantonese language of the Guangdong Province, Mr. Chan.

Chan: China uses Mandarin now – they are now different from us.

Wong: Guangdong Province uses Cantonese.

Chan: Then what about Guangdong independence? Are you supporting Guangdong independence?

Wong: Don’t stray from the topic when we are talking about Hong Kong independence… do you know where your roots are?

Chan: My roots are in Hong Kong. I was born in Hong Kong… The Communist Party is the one forgetting about its roots. Why did the Cultural Revolution happen? It happened in order to eradicate the Chinese culture of the past.

Wong: Don’t try to blame others…

Chan: Yes, I am using Hong Kong’s culture

Wong: What culture does Hong Kong have? The culture of Hong Kong is based on Chinese culture.

Chan: So you think Hong Kong has no culture?

Wong: Don’t stray from the topic… I know you are pro-independence and I’ll just stop here.

Previously, Chan said he will send a “blank” election mailout to voters in his constituency as he expected any pro-independence wording to be censored.

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.