No room for separatists in Legco polls, says Zhang

Top News | Phoenix Un 21 Jul 2016

The director of Beijing's Liaison Office in Hong Kong said it would be a breach of the "one country, two systems" principle if separatists were allowed to use the Legislative Council election as a platform to promote their ideas.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Day organizing committee, Zhang Xiaoming, said: "If independence advocates are allowed to register, turn their campaign into a process to agitate for independence, and even blatantly enter Hong Kong's legislature, does it comply with the 'one country, two systems?' Does it comply with the Basic Law? Does it comply with the rule of law?"

Zhang said the central government has no wish to "mainlandize" Hong Kong or turn it into another Shanghai, Guangzhou or Shenzhen.

He called for patience in the face of challenges arising from the "one country, two systems" principle and urged people to respect and understand the differences between the SAR and the mainland.

Zhang made the comments after pan-democrats said they will not sign a new confirmation form issued by the Electoral Affairs Commission, on which candidates confirm their support for "one country, two systems."

In a separate event in the afternoon, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the measure by the EAC is a reaction to independence calls, which are against the Basic Law.

"We cannot turn a blind eye on things happening," she said.

"Obviously there are some people violating the 'one country, two systems' and the Basic Law. These people are agitating for Hong Kong independence, and use this call for their Legco campaign."

She believes returning officers will decide whether an applicant is eligible not because he or she has signed the confirmation, and that they will consult the Department of Justice if necessary.

Civic Party's Dennis Kwok Wing- hang, a barrister and legislator for the legal constituency, condemned Zhang for not respecting the rule of law and the "one country, two systems." This is because, he explained, the election is an internal affair of the SAR and mainland officials should keep out.

"Whether a person can be eligible for Legco candidacy should be decided by the Electoral Affairs Commission and the returning officers according to the election laws," he said.

Edward Leung Tin-kei, an independence advocate and a Hong Kong Indigenous candidate, said he won't be surprised if the candidacies of those who did not sign are declared invalid.

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