'Political Screening in Hong Kong': A report on the disqualification of candidates and lawmakers
8 March 2018
Three days before controversial by-elections in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Watch is publishing a report highlighting the ‘political screening’ of candidates and the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy through the Chinese government’s intervention. The report says that the current by-elections have been ‘tainted’ by the disqualification of candidates and lawmakers, demanding urgent attention from the international community and especially the UK Government, a guarantor of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The report covers the ‘Oath Taking Saga’, which led to the disqualification of pro-democracy lawmakers from the Legislative Council. It argues that the Chinese government’s Interpretation of Article 104 of Basic Law, which led to the disqualifications, is an illegal infringement which undermines one-country, two-systems, and violates rights enshrined in Hong Kong’s constitution, including freedom of speech and the right to stand in election.
The report notes that the disqualification of candidates in Legislative Council elections was unprecedented before 2016 and describes the actions of the Returning Officer of the Electoral Affairs Commissions as ‘unaccountable political screening’.