Some people are “lying with their eyes open” in order to enter the Legislative Council, the Chief Secretary said in a speech while discussing independence advocates.

Without naming anyone, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said there was a new phenomenon of people publicly advocating Hong Kong independence, with some even using it as an election platform, reported RTHK.

“So we need to look at how our laws are written – can we allow such a phenomenon to occur, ignore it and not do anything? The answer is no,” she said at a youth forum on the Basic Law on Friday.

Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

She said the government must think of ways to ensure the election is conducted legally, openly, fairly and honestly.

“Honesty is very important – you can see that every day some people are lying with their eyes open, doing dishonest things, in order to enter the Legislative Council,” she said. “We cannot be ambiguous about it – we must handle it in accordance with the law.”

Five LegCo hopefuls were rejected for supporting Hong Kong independence or a return to the UK, in view of which returning officers considered them unable to genuinely uphold the Basic Law.

Edward Leung Tin-kei. Photo: Cloud.

Among the five was Edward Leung Tin-kei of Hong Kong Indigenous, who publicly stated that he no longer supported Hong Kong independence in hopes of getting into the race.

Lam said only returning officers – not the government or the Electoral Affairs Commission – have the power stipulated by the law to determine whether the candidates should be allowed to run. She praised the work of the returning officers in carrying out their duties to ensure the election is conducted legally, openly, fairly and honestly.

The government has expressed its position that advocating independence is contrary to the Basic Law, the mini-constitution of Hong Kong. Whether advocating independence will violate other local laws is unclear.

Lam also condemned threats made against returning officers after candidates were banned.


Kris Cheng

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.