Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong has been disqualified from entering the upcoming District Council election.
Wong is the only person to be disqualified by an electoral officer from the November 24 race.
Returning Officer Dorothy Ma, who manages election affairs, asked Wong about his political stance twice before she went on sick leave last week.
Laura Liang Aron, the Yau Tsim Mong district officer, replaced Ma last Thursday. She asked the Demosisto activist about his political stance for a third time before disqualifying him.
Aron wrote that in Wong’s first two replies, he did not give direct answers as to whether Hong Kong independence was an option if Hongkongers were allowed self-determination. Though Wong and his group have denied they hold a pro-independence stance, they have stated that citizens should be given the right to choose the city’s political direction.
Aron said that she asked Wong the question again, and – in his reply – he quoted a statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping on October 13 who said that any attempt to split China “will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones.” Wong said he would not support independence as an option because of the threat.
However, Aron did not accept Wong’s claim: “As a matter of objective reasoning, Mr Wong, by quoting and referring to President Xi Jinping’s statement made as recently as in October 2019 as a ‘stern threat’ in his 3rd reply, was suggesting that both Demosisto and he were pressed to saying that they have given up the notion as a compromise, instead of a genuine intention,” she wrote.
Aron accused Wong of providing a misleading statement that he and Demosisto had abandoned the notion of independence as an option for Hong Kong’s future: “Viewed objectively, clear doubts remain on the truthfulness of his claim… that neither Demosisto nor himself promote and support the notion given the way in which Mr Wong was addressing the direct questions repeatedly put to him,” she wrote.
In a Facebook page, Wong said his disqualification amounted to censorship: “I strongly condemn the government for conducting political screening and censorship, depriving me of my political rights.”
In a press release on Tuesday morning, the government said it agreed with the decision which was made over Wong’s advocacy of “self-determination” for Hong Kong. Previously, Demosisto’s Agnes Chow was disqualified from an election race on similar grounds.
“The candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws, since advocating or promoting ‘self-determination’ is contrary to the content of the declaration that the law requires a candidate to make to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR,” the statement read.
It said that “a person advocates or promotes self-determination or independence by any means” cannot uphold the city’s mini-constitution: “There is no question of any political censorship, restriction of the freedom of speech or deprivation of the right to stand for elections as alleged by some members of the community.”
I become the only candidate banned from running in November’s District Council Election as Returning officer, Laura ARON ruled my nomination invalid this morning. It proved how Beijing manipulate the election with political cersorship and screening. pic.twitter.com/mwZNKUApFM
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒
(@joshuawongcf) October 29, 2019
Wong submitted his nomination form on October 4. Judy Chan and Kelvin Lam are also running in Wong’s South Horizons West constituency.
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