The Growing Roots of Despotism Invading the Heart of Democracy- Statement from the Hong Kong University Students’ Union on Hon Eddie Chu Hoi-dick Being Disqualified from Running in the Rural Representative Election

 

Lawmaker Hon Eddie Chu Hoi-dick was disqualified under section 24 of the Rural Representative Election Ordinance by returning officer Enoch Yuen Ka-lok, on 2 December 2018, on the ground that Chu implicitly confirmed “that he supports that independence could be an option for Hong Kong people, in the pretext of exercising the alleged right to advocate independence in a peaceful manner.” The Union sternly condemns the government for depriving people’s fundamental right to stand for election since Hong Kong Legislative Council Election 2016.

Section 24 of the Rural Representative Election Ordinance states that a person is validly nominated with “the nomination form includes or is accompanied by a declaration, signed by the person, to the effect that the person will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” The Union reaffirms, according to the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, Hong Kong citizens enjoy the right to be elected. Whether the candidate upholds the Basic Law should not be considered as a criterion for determining his or her candidacy. Basic Law is a constitution designed to regulate the government and public authority, instead of restricting rights of citizens. As the essence of the spirit of constitutions, citizens have the absolute right to go against and criticise the constitution. They can even call for amendments to the constitution. The government claims that they have to uphold the Basic Law. That being said, they empower the Returning Officer to pre-screen the dissidents, depriving candidates’ right to be elected, as guaranteed by Article 26 of the Basic Law.

Through election, citizens can vote for an authorised representative to voice out their opinion including their political stance in different structures. Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive, mentioned earlier that the government supported the decision of the Returning Officer and considered the Returning Officer as prudently exercising his powers and fulfilling his duties as stated in the law. Yet, Returning officer’s authority should only be limited to dealing with administrative procedures such as confirming candidates’ basic information. It is absolutely wrong for a Returning Officer to deny one’s eligibility for election based on his or her political stance. Worse still, what is more absurd is that, as stipulated in the Election Ordinance, candidates are required to sign on a confirmation form to state clearly that he/she upholds the Basic Law and pledges allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Union believes that the right to be elected for Hong Kong permanent residents must be protected and respected, Public servants should never be allowed to unscrupulously deprive such right. Screening based on candidates’ political stance is definitely an insult to the will of voters. Elections have unfortunately been reduced as the means for the government to get the pro-government camp placed in the Legislative Council. Consequently, the elected candidates have become “rubber stamps”.

The Hong Kong government has been unscrupulously oppressing opposing views. From Edward Leung and Chan Ho Tin in 2016 Hong Kong Legislative Council election to Chow Ting and Lau Siu Lai in 2018 Legislative Council By-election, there have been more and more candidates being disqualified due to their political stance. Such political screening has been more raging, affecting the Rural Representative Election. In the near future, the political screening could probably extend to different elections, including district council elections and Election Committee Subsector Elections, etc. Even worse, voters’ political view may be reviewed in order to achieve a comprehensive mind control. The Union once again opposes the government arbitrarily depriving Hong Kong people of their basic human rights. It is shameful that the government made such an indecent move to please the Communist Party.
We shall not normalise the usurpation of the right to be elected but to continuously stand up for the injustice in Hong Kong.