What Hong Kong’s Loyalty Pledge Says About Its Future

by Steve Miller / August 4, 2016/ VOANews

Voters in Hong Kong will be electing members of the territory’s Legislative Council September 4. During past election cycles, candidates only needed to attest they would uphold the freedoms guaranteed in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the territory; this time, however, candidates running for office needed to sign an additional pledge saying Hong Kong was an inalienable part of China.

Chan Ho-tin and Yeung Ke-cheong refused to sign the pledge, which then resulted in the Hong Kong Electoral Affairs Commission banning them from the election. Edward Leung, who in the past had advocated for Hong Kong’s independence, won a seat in the Legislative Council during a by-election in February of this year. He also signed the new pledge proclaiming one China, but was informed this week that he was barred from participating in the election.

“It is very obvious that Hong Kong nowadays is not a place of rule of law,” said Leung. “It is a place ruled by men, ruled by the communist party. This decision is illegal but they are still doing so because they dare to do so, they dare us that we would not do anything against this authority, but that’s not true. Hong Kong people will still continue to fight for our autonomy.”

Leung also told reporters that “Communist China rules [Hong Kong]; every day there is the Basic Law, I won’t be able to enter the Legislative Council. So what else can I do? Revolution.”

VOA contacted the Electoral Affairs Commission, but it declined an interview request.

Pledge in line with Beijing objectives

“I do think that what we see, in a broader sense, with Beijing’s policy towards Hong Kong, is that in some sense [Beijing] is coming to realize what a liability even the concept of Hong Kong autonomy is to Beijing’s larger political goals,” says John Minnich, East Asia analyst for private strategic intelligence firm Stratfor. Read more…

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