HK lawmaker Eddie Chu’s pledge of allegiance to China challenged by Exco member Ronny Tong ahead of village elections

29-Nov-2018 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A pledge of allegiance to Chinese sovereignty by a Hong Kong lawmaker has been challenged by a member of the city’s Executive Council.

Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who is also a barrister, said Eddie Chu Hoi-dick’s pledge made on Tuesday and required by election officials for the coming village representative election was contradictory as Chu had also defended the right to advocate for Hong Kong’s independence.

Chu, who hopes to participate in the rural representative election for the non-indigenous villagers’ head post at Yuen Kong Sun Tsuen, in Yuen Long, was asked to answer five additional political questions about Hong Kong’s status after submitting his nomination form last Thursday.

In his rewritten reply submitted to the authority on Tuesday, he again confirmed his opposition to Hong Kong independence but maintained that peacefully advocating for it was a right guaranteed to Hong Kong people by the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.

The localist, who has in the past advocated for the city’s self-determination, said he was already a serving lawmaker.

“I have taken an oath to uphold the Basic Law and pledged allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” he said on Tuesday, describing the additional questions as “political screening”.

Tong questioned Chu’s stance on a radio programme on Wednesday.

“I do not think that is the case. Upholding the Basic Law does not just mean accepting it… Upholding means to positively support and promote it instead of just knowing its existence.”

The Exco member said it would be contradictory if one person could advocate self determination and independence on the one hand and uphold the Basic Law on the other hand.

“I don’t think they can coexist,” Tong said, noting that Article 1 of the Basic Law said Hong Kong was an inalienable part of China.

He said Chu might not be able to persuade election officials or even the court that he would uphold the Basic Law.

The lawmaker in turn said he was concerned and sad about political screening for a village election and that the “red line” was extending.

“The sad thing is election officials can ask [political questions] if they feel it is necessary,” he said, adding that questions asked in the past had been about personal background, such as whether the person was a foreign national or had been bankrupt.

But Tong said such a requirement was not strict or uncommon.

“Strictly speaking, all Hong Kong residents need to uphold the Basic Law, from the perspective of bearing the responsibility of political ethics,” he said.

Nominations closed last Thursday, and the Home Affairs Department received a total of 1,858 nominations. There are 1,540 village representative seats in total.

After vetting and verifying the eligibility of the candidates, the returning officers will publish a gazette notice of valid nominations on December 6.


Category: Taiwan

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