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Joshua Wong disqualified for Hong Kong District Council election

2019-10-29 14:15

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HONG KONG, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The nomination of Joshua Wong, the leader of a political group advocating "Hong Kong's independence," as a candidate in the 2019 District Council Ordinary Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was declared invalid on Tuesday.

Wong's nomination was decided as invalid in accordance with the Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (District Councils) Regulation, the Electoral Affairs Commission's Returning Officer for Wong's constituency said in a notice of decision.

The Returning Officers for the 2019 District Council Ordinary Election, to be held in November, have made decisions on the nomination of all the over 1,000 candidates.

Wong, the secretary-general of the political group Demosisto, was disqualified "as he did not comply with section 34(1) of the District Councils Ordinance," the HKSAR government said in a statement on Tuesday.

The HKSAR government agrees to and supports the decision by the Returning Officer, the statement added.

"The candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws, since advocating or promoting 'self-determination' is contrary to the content of the declaration that the law requires a candidate to make to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR," said a spokesman of the HKSAR government.

The HKSAR government has all along respected and safeguarded the rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents according to law, including the rights to vote and to stand for election in accordance with law, the spokesman said, adding that "at the same time, the HKSAR government has a duty to implement and uphold the Basic Law and to ensure that all elections will be conducted in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant electoral laws."

"Self-determination" or changing the HKSAR system by supporting the independence of Hong Kong as an option for self-determination is inconsistent with the constitutional and legal status of the HKSAR as stipulated in the Basic Law, as well as the established basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong, the spokesman pointed out.

In accordance with section 34(1)(b) of the District Councils Ordinance, a person is not validly nominated as a candidate for the District Council election unless he or she, as part of the statutory nomination procedure, makes a declaration in the nomination form to the effect that he or she will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR.

"Upholding the Basic Law is a basic legal duty of a District Council member. If a person advocates or promotes self-determination or independence by any means, he or she cannot possibly uphold the Basic Law or fulfil his or her duties as a District Council member," said the spokesman.

The HKSAR government supports the making of decisions on the validity of nomination by the Returning Officers in accordance with the law. The Returning Officers have the duty as well as power to make those decisions according to the relevant electoral laws, the spokesman said.

"Decisions made by the Returning Officers aim to ensure that the District Council election is held in strict accordance with the Basic Law and other applicable laws in an open, honest and fair manner," the spokesman said, stressing that "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."
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