Pan-dems reject poll declaration

Local | Phoenix Un 22 Jul 2016

Pan-democrats are boycotting a new election measure that requires candidates to the Legislative Council elections in September to sign a new declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law.

Leaders of several pan-democrat parties met yesterday and said that all of their candidates would not sign the declaration sought by the Electoral Affairs Commission. The declaration aims to uphold three articles in the Basic Law relating to Hong Kong's status as an SAR of China.

Legal-sector representative Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who acted as spokesman, questioned how the returning officer can determine whether a candidate has signed the declaration sincerely before approving his or her candidacy.

"A fair and open election is one of the core values of Hong Kong society. If we don't stand firm and protect our core values, we will see one of our most important institutions and core values of Hong Kong eroded by this confirmation form," he said.

He said pan-democrats would uphold their position even if they are barred from the election.

Further actions are yet to be decided, Kwok said, adding he had written a letter to the returning officer to demand an explanation why it is taking a long time to process his application, which was submitted on Wednesday. He added that all pan-democrat candidates had not received any confirmation of their candidacy.

Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok- sing said: "I think it would be very paradoxical if such an individual should run for the seat in Legco [if he or she does not sign the declaration] because after all, Legco is the legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China."

Tsang said that if candidates refuse to sign the declaration, they should consider not running in the election.

Federation of Trade Unions honorary president Cheng Yiu-tong said the declaration is only a "friendly reminder" to candidates not to break the law. He compared advocacy of independence with threats of bombing a plane.

"If you shout 'I'm going to bomb the plane' when you're on that flight, what do you think will secret agents do to you? Secessionism is China's bottom line that cannot be exceeded, and it has nothing to do with freedom of speech," he said.

Meanwhile, Cheng Chung-tai, localist group Civic Passion's candidate in the New Territories West, said that he would sign the declaration as a form of civil disobedience.

His party-mate, Alvin Cheng Kam- mun, signed the declaration when he submitted his nomination to run in the Hong Kong Island constituency.

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