Several candidates running in the upcoming District Council election have received questions from the government over their political stance, including queries about the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.”
The slogan, first coined by now-jailed activist Edward Leung during his 2016 election campaign, has been commonly chanted during the ongoing pro-democracy protests.
Some of those running in November’s election received confirmation as candidates on Monday but received urgent letters from returning officers asking about their political stance. Returning officers are district officers who temporarily act as election officers. Since 2016, they have frequently disqualified candidates on the grounds of their political opinions.
Billy Chan—an incumbent district councillor—who runs in Sha Tin, as well as Tommy Cheung and Fleco Mo running in Yuen Long, have received questions about the slogan.
The returning officers cited their social media posts containing the slogan and asked them what they meant by the phrase. They were asked to reply within 24 hours.
“They want to conduct political censorship again—which word violates the Basic Law?” Fleco Mo said.
果然中左問問題，不過佢attach個Facebook post相當有趣，大家可以睇一睇。我重申，選舉主任唔應該就一句口號就進行政治審查，但我會如期回答選舉主任問題。選舉廣告｜自行製作｜數量：1｜發佈日期：2019-10-15Election Advertisement | Produced by the Candidate | Qty: 1｜Publication Date: 2019-10-15
Henry Wong, running in Tin Shui Wai, was asked about his past remarks about supporting independence for Hong Kong. He was also asked about a group that he belonged to which supported self-determination for Hong Kong people and their political future.
Demosisto Secretary-General Joshua Wong, who runs in South Horizons, was asked why he put “democrat” on his nomination form, and whether he still he would be running under the Demosistō identity.
Wong’s colleague Agnes Chow was previously disqualified from election because of her political affiliation with Demosistō, which supports the notion of self-determination.
Wong was also asked if he supports the idea, and if so, whether independence would be an option.
“I have a right to run, and the government has no right to vet candidates,” Wong said.
【選舉主任馬周佩芬的來信】Prelude to Disqualification：Gov’t Questions Joshua Wong’s…
Last year, Mr Justice Thomas Au ruled in an election petition that a returning officer can examine matters beyond the formal compliance of the nomination form, and candidates should be given reasonable opportunity to respond to any materials raised by returning officers.
However, Au ruled that a returning officer should only conclude that candidates do not have an intention to uphold the Basic Law or pledge allegiance to the HKSAR at the time of nomination if there is “cogent, clear and compelling evidence.”
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