The wife of a jailed former lawmaker who is facing trial under the national security law has been elected to lead Hong Kong’s League of Social Democrats (LSD), as pro-democracy parties in the city come under pressure in the wake of the legislation.

Chan Po-ying, a long-time activist who is married to former legislator “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, was elected chairperson at a special members’ meeting on Sunday, along with external deputy chairperson Dickson Chau.

Chan Po-ying. Photo: League of Social Democrats, via video screenshot.

Raphael Wong, former chair of the pro-grassroots socialist party, said it had decided to hold the election earlier than planned since many core members were either serving prison terms or in custody pending trial.

At least four members of LSD’s former administrative committee are behind bars. Jimmy Sham is one of the 47 democrats, also including Leung, charged under the national security law after they organised or took part in a primary election to select opposition legislative candidates. Figo Chan, Leung, and Avery Ng are serving jail sentences for protest-related offences.

The new chairperson said the LSD had three main areas of work: speaking out about political and civil society issues, bolstering party morale, and connecting with other political parties and civil society organisations.

“I think the responsibility is pretty big,” said Chan. “You all know that the social and political environment is facing grave and high-pressure circumstances.”

(From left) League of Social Democrats’ new Deputy Chairperson Dickson Chau, Chairperson Chan Po-ying, and former chairperson Raphael Wong. Photo: League of Social Democrats, via video screenshot.

Chan said that under the Beijing-imposed national security law, the public order ordinance, and the sedition law, any organisation would face various degrees of oppression, but she was encouraged by the members’ support.

Chau, the newly elected deputy chairperson, said the League of Social Democrats would continue “connecting with Hong Kong people in different sectors” and preserving the strength of civil society to utilise its influence.

Wong said its operations would not be affected by the arrest or imprisonment of “one or two people.”

“Many people asked me during interviews: what happens to the LSD if even Raphael Wong is jailed?” he said, speaking of charges pending against him. “I would like to use this opportunity to tell you all, just like I have said in the past, the LSD is a team…”

“I believe that under the hard work of the new administrative committee, they will be able to continue speaking up for society.”

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.