Localists warned about splitting pan-dem vote

Democratic Party heavyweight Albert Ho Chun-yan fired a pre-election salvo at the post-Umbrella localist groups, saying their call for self-determination would hurt the traditional democrats and boost the pro-Beijing camp.

Yupina Ng

Monday, April 11, 2016

Democratic Party heavyweight Albert Ho Chun-yan fired a pre-election salvo at the post-Umbrella localist groups, saying their call for self-determination would hurt the traditional democrats and boost the pro-Beijing camp.

"Some localists say they have to get rid of three harms, including the pan- democrats," Ho said yesterday.

"It is hard for me to agree with some of their objectives. I personally do not agree with self-determination, and it goes beyond reality."

He also said the localist groups would only split the pan-democrats at the Legislative Council election, which would please the central government.

Meanwhile, Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies director Mo Jihong said the central government has the right to interfere should anyone advocate Hong Kong independence as this was not protected by freedom of speech.

"Many people get drunk with their own thoughts," Mo, who is also the deputy director of the Law Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told a seminar in Beijing.

Mo said the current SAR law is not the same as that during the British- colonial era since it has been amended and is part of Chinese law, recognized by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

He stressed that those who believe the central government cannot act against a political party that confronts and denies the Basic Law because of the omission of Article 23 are wrong.

Separately, the legal chief of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government Wang Zhenmin suggested the public should take a hard look at the Crimes Ordinance when discussing Hong Kong independence.

Wang said those floating the idea of independence are not only breaching the Basic Law but are also violating the Crimes Ordinance and Societies Ordinance.

He said on Friday it would be considered sedition and treason under the Crimes Ordinance if there was a "large- scale discussion in the hopes of gathering a large group to act together."

Pressed yesterday for a further explanation while attending a two-day strategy meeting in Shenzhen by the pro- establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Wang repeated his warning: "I suggest people look deeper into the Crimes Ordinance of Hong Kong."

DAB vice chairman Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan said Hong Kong independence is a false label that emerged because someone wanted to seize the governance of Hong Kong.