A group of pro-democracy activists intending to stand in the upcoming legislative elections have signed a joint statement promising to promote the protest movement’s demands if elected.
Initiated by Tuen Mun District Councillor Sam Cheung, Central and Western District Councillor Fergus Leung and activist Owen Chow, the group – who call themselves the “resistance camp” – published a statement titled “Unyielding determination to resist” on Wednesday. They encouraged those who seek to enter September’s race drop out should they receive poor ratings.
Protests erupted last June over a now-axed extradition bill and escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent. Demonstrators demanded the extradition law be scrapped, called for an independent probe into the police conduct, amnesty for those arrested, as well as a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots” and universal suffrage.
“I agree with ‘Five demands, not one less.’ I will use the Legislative Council’s power stipulated in the Basic Law – including vetoing budget bills – to compel the Chief Executive to respond to the five demands,” the joint statement read. “To revoke all protester charges, to hold all relevant persons accountable for police brutality and to relaunch political reform in order to achieve universal suffrage.”
“I agree that, if my rating in pre-election polls falls short in securing the estimated number of seats that the pro-democracy camp is anticipated to win in each constituency, I will declare a halt to the election campaign,” it read.
As of Thursday, over 30 activists and politicians had signed, including incumbent lawmakers Eddie Chu and Ray Chan, Demosisto activists Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Sunny Cheung, spokesperson for the Civil Assembly Team Ventus Lau, and former spokesperson for the student group Scholarism Wong Ji-yuet.
The pro-democracy Civic Party said on Facebook on Wednesday that they backed the statement. The party announced on May 30 that incumbent lawmakers Kwok Ka-ki, Alvin Yeung, Jeremy Tam and Dennis Kwok will seek re-election. Eastern District Councillor Tat Cheng will also be recommended to run for the Hong Kong Island constituency whilst restaurant owner Gordon Lam is set to represent the catering sector.
Chow told HKFP that the statement aimed at reinforcing a previously agreed consensus on the nature of the primaries: “Sharing a common objective is fundamental to the pro-democracy camp’s coordination.”
The co-founder of 2014 pro-democracy Occupy Central campaign Benny Tai and ex-lawmaker Au Nok-hin revealed a plan to hold primary elections for pro-democracy candidates this week, but the group said they could not guarantee that the results would be binding and candidates will not be asked to make promises.
Chow said he would not rule out the possibility of boycotting the primary election if some pro-democracy political parties refused to sign the statement. He added that he understood Tai may be concerned about the authorities finding excuses to disqualify candidates, “however, we should not succumb to the circumstances, no matter how the political regime oppresses our resistance.”