Pro-democracy activist barred from election in Hong Kong

Pro-democracy activist barred from election in Hong Kong
© Greg Nash

Hong Kong has barred pro-Democracy activist Joshua Wong from upcoming elections as the city has faced months of sometimes-violent protests, according to multiple reports

Wong has described his exclusion as censorship, according to Reuters. 

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“The decision to ban me from running [for] office is clearly politically driven,” he said Tuesday. “The so-called ‘reasons’ is judging subjectively on my intention to uphold Basic Law. But everyone would know that the true reason is my identity, Joshua Wong.”

The activist said he was the only person out of more than 1,100 district council candidates to be disqualified from the November elections.

“It is questionable whether Mr Wong accepts the People’s Republic of China’s sovereignty over [Hong Kong] and whether he is of the view that independence and referendum would be options for Hong Kong,” Laura Aron, the returning officer for Wong's district, said in a statement obtained by Reuters. 

Asked about Wong's disqualification Tuesday, Hong Kong Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip cited Basic Law — Hong Kong's constitution — according to a transcript

"We have a duty to promote and implement the Basic Law and also to uphold the Basic Law, and to ensure that our elections will be conducted in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant electoral laws," Nip said. "In deciding the validity of a nomination, it is the duty and power of the Returning Officer to consider each and every application in accordance with the electoral laws, the relevant information and evidence collected as necessary and the legal opinion, and then make a decision."

"In all these cases, if a Returning Officer decides that a nomination is to be invalidated, he or she has to give the reasons for the decision," he added. "The reasons for the decision will be published and inspected by the public."

The protests in Hong Kong began with a now-shelved bill that would have allowed extradition to China, but have since become a larger pro-democracy movement. Demonstrators have demanded universal suffrage and an independent probe into alleged police brutality.