A group of Hong Kong lawyers yesterday condemned a ban on a democracy activist by the territory’s government to stop her from contesting a by-election, describing it as the suppression of free expression and a curb on voting. The weekend ban on Agnes Chow, a close ally of high-profile activist Joshua Wong, fuels wider fears of tightening political “red lines” by Beijing that could deny Hong Kong’s restive young people any political outlet beyond street protest. The 21-year-old Chow becomes the 13th politician barred from standing for office or disqualified from the legislature in recent years.
The group of 30 mostly liberal lawyers, including the current and former heads of the Bar Association, said they did not mean to endorse Chow’s views, but wanted, instead, to protect candidates’ freedoms.
“The decision has used political opinion or affiliation as a ground to deprive her of the right to stand for election – which is unreasonable, unlawful and unconstitutional,” it said in a statement.