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.
Articles about voting issues in the People’s Republic of China.
Hong Kong’s democratic opposition failed to win back a crucial legislative council seat in an election on Sunday that would have restored some of its veto power at a time when the China-ruled city’s freedoms are under strain. The democratic camp’s main candidate, Lee Cheuk-yan, lost to Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan, a pro-Beijing candidate backed by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), by around 13,000 votes, or about 6 percent of the total. Another democrat, Frederick Fung, who ran as an independent after a row with the opposition camp, split the vote to the benefit of the pro-establishment DAB.
Hong Kong is taking unprecedented steps to ban a pro-independence party, in the government’s strongest action yet against the movement pushing for separation from China. Police on Tuesday delivered documents to the Hong Kong National party founder, Andy Chan Ho-tin, detailing their recommendations to the city’s secretary of security that the group halt operations. The development marks the first time since the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule in 1997 that it has sought to outlaw a political organisation. A letter addressed to Chan said security officials believed the party should be shut down “in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”, according to photos of the documents posted on the group’s Facebook page.
China: Could call to give vote to half a million Hongkongers in mainland China open door to voting rights for all citizens overseas? | South China Morning Post
The Hong Kong government has said it would consider giving voting rights to hundreds of thousands of citizens living over the border in mainland China, prompting the immediate question of whether this would be extended globally. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said at the weekly Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday that any arrangements for polling outside Hong Kong must be critically examined. “[We must consider things] such as how the polling and counting process could be effectively monitored as well as transportation of ballot papers and boxes to and from polling stations outside Hong Kong,” Nip said, adding that the relevant electoral legislation, any emergency risks and unforeseen incidents also had to be considered.
China: Hong Kong government scraps plan to shorten voting hours after overwhelming public opposition | South China Morning Post
A government suggestion of shortening polling times for Hong Kong elections has been shelved after an overwhelming number of objections from people fearing the measure would strip shift workers of their voting rights. The development came on Tuesday as the administration submitted to the Legislative Council a report which wrapped up the results of a seven-week public consultation last year on three issues related to elections. While the government had said it was open to shortening polling hours – which normally last from 7.30am to 10.30pm – it suggested in the consultation paper that the move would help alleviate the fatigue suffered by candidates and electoral staff and ease the booking of venues.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers have lost two seats in the territory’s legislature, another setback for the bloc whose members were previously disqualified after modifying their oaths of office to defy Beijing. While the pro-democracy camp widely anticipated losing one of the four vacated seats up for a vote in Sunday’s by-election, a second loss, by a margin of just over 1 percent after a recount, was a less expected and more painful blow. The vote came on the same day that China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature approved a measure to drop term limits for president, clearing the way for President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. Hong Kong’s democracy advocates framed the vote in the semiautonomous territory as a way to stand up to the authoritarianism of China’s central government. What they were left with, however, was a further erosion of their already limited power.
Hong Kong residents voted Sunday in by-elections that give opposition supporters the chance to recapture lost ground in a contest measuring voters’ appetite for democracy in the semiautonomous Chinese city. The vote pitted pro-Beijing loyalists against opposition candidates competing for four seats in the city’s semi-democratic legislature. They’re among six seats left empty when a group of lawmakers were expelled following a 2016 controversy over their oaths, which they used to defy China. The ejected members included two advocating Hong Kong’s independence, something Chinese President Xi Jinping has called a “red line.”
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp will try to claw back lost seats as polls opened early Sunday in controversial by-elections that have exposed the heart of the city’s political divide. The vote comes as China signals a harder line against any challenges to its sovereignty, with high-profile young candidate Agnes Chow barred from standing because her party promotes self-determination for the semi-autonomous city. Beijing has become increasingly incensed at the emergence of activists advocating independence and sees calls for self-determination as part of a splittist push. The by-election was triggered after Beijing forced the disqualification of six rebel lawmakers who had swept to victory in citywide elections in 2016.
President Xi Jinping set China on course to follow his hard-line authoritarian rule far into the future on Sunday, when the national legislature lifted the presidential term limit and gave constitutional backing to expanding the reach of the Communist Party. Under the red-starred dome of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, nearly 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress, the party-controlled legislature, voted almost unanimously to approve an amendment to the Constitution to abolish the term limit on the presidency, opening the way for Mr. Xi to rule indefinitely. The amendment was among a set of 21 constitutional changes approved by the congress, which included passages added to the Constitution to salute Mr. Xi and his drive to entrench party supremacy.
U.S. President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday after the ruling Communist party announced it was eliminating the two-term limit for the presidency, paving the way for Xi to serve indefinitely, according to audio aired by CNN. “He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great,” Trump said, according to audio of excerpts of Trump’s remarks at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida aired by CNN.“And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters. It is not clear if Trump, 71, was making the comment about extending presidential service in jest. The White House did not respond to a request for comment late Saturday.