Hong Kong’s Pro-Independence Politicians Mull 'One China' Pledge

Hong Kong’s Pro-Independence Politicians Mull 'One China' Pledge
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

What you need to know

Pro-independence activists planning to stand in the upcoming elections are mulling a controversial new requirement for candidates to sign a declaration that Hong Kong is part of China. Some pro-democracy legislators say they will not sign.

Hong Kong’s Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) has announced that candidates in the September Legislative Council (LegCo) election must sign a declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The Basic Law – Hong Kong’s key constitutional document – stipulates that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is “an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China with a high degree of autonomy and there is no amendment to the Basic Law that shall contravene the nation’s established basic policies regarding Hong Kong,” the Hong Kong government notes in a statement.

Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), a pro-independence group that plans to run in September, opposes the new requirement but says it is considering signing the declaration in order to be able to compete in the election.

“We haven't decided to sign it or not,” a spokesperson told The News Lens International. “But even if we sign it, it doesn't mean that HKNP will abandon the idea of Hong Kong independence.”

The HKNP spokesperson says the party sees the new rule as “an obstacle imposed by the colonial government.”

“Yet such an obstacle cannot prevent HKNP, and other organizations with the same ideology as we do, to participate the LegCo election. Even if HKNP ‘agreed on’ the terms of the new declaration form, we will still insist on promoting Hong Kong independence.”

The EAC statement warns candidates that in making the declaration, they must understand the “legal consequences.” Officials will analyze the nominations and determine whether they are valid.

The Hong Kong government likewise notes that making a false declaration is “liable to criminal sanction.”

People Power legislators Albert Chan (陳偉業) and Raymond Chan (陳志全), as well as League of Social Democrats’ “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄) do not intend to sign the declaration, the South China Morning Post reports.

The nomination period for the election opens tomorrow and runs through to July 29.

A number of new political parties and Umbrella Movement activists are planning to run in the election. For a good backgrounder on all the players and the key issues read this piece by Hong Kong expert Suzanne Pepper.

Editor: J. Michael Cole