- Wong says the Government’s decision to bar him is a clear indication of how Beijing interferes with Hong Kong’s issues.
- Wong will be the only candidate who will not be able to stand for the elections of the district councils on November 24.
- In March last year, the Hong Kong government, in a similar move, barred the candidacy of a pro-democratic activist, Agnes Chow.
The Hong Kong government has prohibited activist Joshua Wong, one of the most prominent faces of the pro-democracy movement, from running in the forthcoming district-level elections in the city. “The candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws, since advocating or promoting ‘self-determination’ is contrary to the content of the declaration that the law requires a candidate to make to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region],” said Laura Aron, a Hong Kong electoral official in a statement, made public to the media.
After hearing the decision, the 23-year-old activist said in a press conference that the ban “is widely based” on his political affiliation with the Demosistō group. Wong says the Government’s decision to bar him is a clear indication of how Beijing interferes with Hong Kong’s issues and a big blow to the city’s political as well as basic freedoms. “It proved [sic] how Beijing manipulate the election with political censorship [sic] and screening,” Wong wrote on Twitter.
He added that in any case, even if he is imprisoned or expelled from the elections, his “commitment to the pro-democratic movement in Hong Kong will never be eroded by Beijing and Chinese President Xi Jinping.” In his view, Beijing has exerted “extremely strong pressure” on the government officials responsible for deciding on his candidacy. “The political neutrality of Hong Kong officials has been lost,” he said. Wong will be the only candidate who will not be able to stand for the elections of the district councils on November 24. The rest have been cleared.
The young activist rose to fame for his role in the so-called “Umbrella Revolution” of 2014, which sought to obtain universal suffrage for the election of the position of Chief Executive of the former British colony. Since then, his voice has become one of the most relevant within the pro-democratic movement of the city, which has been protesting almost daily for more than four and a half months.
The Hong Kong protests, which became massive in June following a controversial proposed extradition law— already withdrawn by the government— have mutated to become a movement that seeks improvement in the democratic mechanisms that govern Hong Kong, and opposition to the authoritarianism of Beijing. However, some protesters have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful protest, and violent clashes with the police are lately a common phenomenon.
In March last year, the Hong Kong government, in a similar move, barred the candidacy of a pro-democratic activist, Agnes Chow, from running in a by-election. The move ignited widespread accusations of political interference from Beijing. Agnes Chow, a member of the pro-democracy Demosistō party, in which Joshua Wong also belongs to, had intended to contest for the Hong Kong Island constituency.