- Wong said “we hope to let the world to know how we choose not to surrender, how we choose not to kowtow to China.”
- Wong is well aware that he is 90 percent likely to be disqualified, just as he was in local elections last year.
- The National Security Act has been heavily criticized, both internationally and by the opposition movement.
Hong Kong activist and system critic Joshua Wong has formally sought to run for Hong Kong’s local parliamentary elections, scheduled for 6th September this year. The September election could be the Democratic opposition’s attempt to regain political influence in the LegCo.
Wong, the young activist, said yesterday:
“With the threat of being extradited to China, with the uncertainty of being sent to a black jail in Beijing, with the possibility of facing a life sentence . . . I still hope to run for office and receive people’s mandate, and let the world know that we will continue our fight until our last breath.”
He added, “we hope to let the world to know how we choose not to surrender, how we choose not to kowtow to China.”
Why the LegCo Elections are Crucial
To the Hong Kongers who are critical of Beijing, the forthcoming local elections are important in the sense that they are in a way an option of last resort left to them. The security law has removed much of the freedom of expression, and the courts have been severely weakened, making the LegCo perhaps the last powerful institution in Hong Kong where citizens can express their views.
In fact, the opposition movement is trying to force the government of China and Hong Kong to show their true intentions with the Security Act. Joshua Wong is well aware that he is 90 percent likely to be disqualified, just as he was in local elections last year.
It can well be interpreted that among the purposes of the controversial Security Act is to weed out candidates like himself. Only half of parliament, a total of 70 seats, will be directly elected, as reported by Deutsche Welle.
However, several political analysts expect that the authorities will disqualify some of the opposition candidates– including Wong– with reference to the new security law, introduced by Beijing in late June.
Joshua Wong has been jailed twice before for his role in the protests of the democracy movement. He has been active in the so-called Umbrella Movement since 2014, which, amongst other things, has been fighting for Hong Kong’s right to elect a head of government without Chinese intervention.
The National Security Act has been heavily criticized, both internationally and by the opposition movement, for restricting Hongkongers’ fundamental rights and freedoms.
However, Hong Kong’s head of government, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has backed the law, calling it “the most important development between the central government and Hong Kong since the transfer” of the territory from Britain to China in 1997.
Among other things, the law hits hard on any action that could threaten national security – including invitations to separatism – and calls for life imprisonment for those collaborating with foreign forces, riots, or secession attempts.
At the same time, the law allows people from Hong Kong to be extradited for prosecution in mainland China. Last year, a proposed bill in the LegCo led to very extensive and protracted demonstrations.
As a result of the new security law, a new Chinese security office has also been set up in Hong Kong, from which Chinese authorities have the power to investigate persons for a number of offenses related to the security law.