Twelve pro-democracy candidates have been disqualified from Hong Kong’s elections, which have officially been postponed due to the coronavirus.
What We Know:
- On Thursday, twelve candidates were formally barred from Hong Kong’s general election. Hong Kong’s government made the decision on the grounds that the candidates would not uphold Basic Law. Hong Kong’s Basic Law includes the principle of “one country, two systems” which makes it a Special Administrative Region (SAR), giving it limited autonomy while still being part of China. Beijing recently expanded Basic Law by imposing the new national security law which criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion, essentially giving the Chinese government power to squash dissent in Hong Kong.
- Among the disqualified candidates is Joshua Wong, activist and former leader of the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Wong won the largest share of the vote in Hong Kong’s previous primaries. Other disqualified candidates come from pro-democracy political parties and some are young activists who led the pro-democracy protests last year.
[I was just disqualified from LegCo election, despite being the biggest winner in #Hkprimaries]
1. Few minutes ago, I was just disqualified from running in the upcoming LegCo election in #Hongkong, even though I got the highest vote share in the primary, w/ 30000+ votes obtained pic.twitter.com/sC3XWbBlsq
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) July 30, 2020
- In another shocking move, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Friday that the upcoming elections will be postponed altogether. Citing concern for the worsening pandemic, the elections will be delayed by one year and take place on September 5, 2021. The government was able to invoke an emergency ordinance to successfully postpone the elections. “We want to ensure fairness and public safety and health, and need to make sure the election is held in an open, fair, and impartial manner. This decision is therefore essential,” Lam said about the decision.
- A group of 22 lawmakers made a statement about the postponement: “Incumbent pro-democracy legislators, who represent 60% of the public’s opinion, collectively oppose the postponement and emphasize the responsibility of the SAR government to make every effort to arrange adequate anti-epidemic measures to hold elections in September as scheduled.” This decision is an additional blow for the pro-democracy opposition, which was poised to make gains on the pro-Beijing majority.
Postponing the election is the second time Carrie Lam has invoked emergency powers. It recently occurred in October 2019 when Lam banned face coverings in public during the pro-democracy protests.