Hong Kong authorities have barred a pro-democracy legislator from running in a local election due to his “implicit” support for Hong Kong’s independence from China, in what critics say is another instance of civil rights being eroded in the Beijing-ruled city. Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, 40, a former journalist and land activist, was democratically elected as one of Hong Kong’s 70 legislators in a 2016 election, winning more votes than any other candidate despite running as an independent. He had planned to contest a separate grassroots poll to represent a village in the rural hinterland of the New Territories.
But an official with Hong Kong’s Electoral Affairs Commission, Enoch Yuen, wrote to Eddie on Sunday, disqualifying him as a candidate on the grounds that he had previously expressed support for “independence as an option for Hong Kong people to self-determine their future”.
While Eddie had written to Enoch stating he didn’t support independence, she concluded that Eddie’s answers “when viewed objectively, can be understood as implicitly confirming that he supports independence could be an option for Hong Kong people”.