The pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong received another slap in the face on Friday. The legislative elections were postponed for a year because of the Covid-19, a decision that China deemed “necessary and reasonable”.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Friday the postponement of the parliamentary elections scheduled for September 6 in Hong Kong for one year. This postponement was decided to preserve the health of the inhabitants, she declared, specifying that the poll was now set for September 5, 2021.
The Legislative Council of Hong Kong is elected half by direct suffrage and the other half by indirect suffrage, which benefits personalities favorable to China.
Hard blow for the democratic opposition
After its great success in the elections organized at the level of the districts of the city at the end of last year, the democratic opposition hoped to continue on this dynamic created by the vast protest movement against the local executive and the Chinese power in 2019.
The delay could undermine his hopes of achieving an unprecedented victory after the introduction of the National Security Law at the end of June, intended to fight against what China describes as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
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Pressure has since intensified on democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Twelve opposition candidates, including the young activist Joshua Wong, but also more established and more moderate personalities, saw their candidacy rejected on the grounds, according to the local executive, of their subversive intentions linked to their hostility to the law on national security.
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“Invalid and ridiculous” disqualification
“Preventing me from being a candidate (…) will not end our fight for democracy,” said Joshua Wong. The 23-year-old described by Beijing as a “puppet” of foreign powers, he said in a statement that his disqualification was “invalid and ridiculous” and called the new security law a “legal weapon used against dissidents” .
The government denies any censorship or infringement of the right to candidate and assures that this national security law, also denounced by the Western powers, is necessary to guarantee the stability of the territory after the demonstrations of last year.