Govt: ‘Self-de­ter­mi­na­tion’ ad­vo­cates can­not be law­mak­ers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By HE SHUSI in Hong Kong hes­husi@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

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