Govt: ‘Self-determination’ advocates cannot be lawmakers
Self-determination or Hong Kong independence advocates cannot possibly uphold the Basic Law or fulfill their duties as legislators, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government spokesman stressed on Friday.
The remarks came after a returning officer disqualified localist candidate Lau Siu-lai from the upcoming Legislative Council by-election for the Kowloon West geographical constituency on Friday evening.
Supporting the returning officer’s decision, the spokesman reiterated that upholding the Basic Law, the SAR’s constitutional document, and pledging allegiance to the HKSAR are the basic legal duties of a legislator.
Article 1 of the Basic Law stipulates that the HKSAR is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China. Article 12 states that the HKSAR shall be a local administrative region of the PRC, which shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy and come directly under the Central People’s Government.
Decisions made by the returning officer aim to ensure the by-election is held strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and other applicable laws, the spokesman said.
“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.”
Lau is a lecturer at the Division of Humanities, Design and Social Sciences at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Hong Kong Community College, and a member of the Labour Party.
She founded the Democracy Groundwork during the illegal “Occupy Central” campaign in 2014. She was elected as a legislator representing the Kowloon West in 2016. Due to improper oath-taking conduct, she was deprived of her lawmaker status by the High Court in 2017. The vacancy led to the by-election.
In a written note to Lau, the returning officer said that according to Lau’s past political activities and her public comments, she doesn’t accept PRC’s sovereignty over Hong Kong, and indicated that independence could be an option for the city.
After reviewing all the public material, the officer believed that Lau’s political agenda has not changed, and therefore ruled Lau’s nomination to be invalid.
Supporting the returning officer’s decision, Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the city’s largest political party in the legislature — the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Lau read the oath extremely slowly when she was sworn in as a legislator in 2016, and added the word “self-determination” into her oath.
It indicated that Lau had no intention of fulfilling her duties in upholding the Basic Law or pledge allegiance to the HKSAR, Lee said.
Agreeing with Lee, Barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah said that according to the verdict of the
High Court, Lau’s oath in 2016 does not indicate that she sincerely upholds the Basic Law.
Tong, who’s also a member of the Executive Council, the policy advisory body to the chief executive, said that according to the verdict, whether a person upholds the Basic Law is an objective judgment. It is based on facts occurring continuously during a certain period, not simply on what that person claims.
The nomination period of the sole position for the LegCo by-election of the Kowloon West geographical constituency is from Oct 2 to Oct 15. Other candidates are former lawmaker Frederick Fung Kinkee, former CEO of a social enterprise Chan Hoi-yan, and Lee Cheuk-yan of the Labour Party.