Another new HK party seeks break with China

But groups seeking independence or return to British rule have unrealistic aims: Analysts

Two months before the Legislative Council (Legco) elections, a second political party seeking Hong Kong's independence from China was formed yesterday.

The Alliance To Resume British Sovereignty Over Hong Kong And Independence wants the city to return to British rule as it is the only way for the Hong Kong to break away from China, party leader Billy Chiu told The Straits Times.

Mr Chiu, 31, an odd job worker in the food and beverage sector, said: "We do not recognise the Sino-British Joint Declaration. And we want to challenge the British government to do something to make up for their mistake of handing over Hong Kong to China."

The party is established barely three months after the Hong Kong National Party, also seeking to break away from China, was launched.

Asked if the emergence of such political parties signal Hong Kong's growing push for independence, analysts said no. They find such goals unrealistic and do not represent what most Hongkongers want.

NO GROUNDS FOR INDEPENDENCE

These youngsters have lots of dissatisfaction with the Chinese government, but they have no grounds to fight for independence.

ANALYST JOHNNY LAU

It is also unlikely that such small pro-independence parties will win any seats at the upcoming elections, they said.

"These youngsters have lots of dissatisfaction with the Chinese government, but they have no grounds to fight for independence," said analyst Johnny Lau.

"The majority of Hong Kong people understand that it is unrealistic for Hong Kong to be independent from China. When we look at the history of China, it is impossible to change the policy."

Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984, China agreed to let Hong Kong continue with its capitalist system under the One Country Two Systems framework. Hong Kong's way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years after the handover in 1997.

Mr Lau noted that the recent revelations of the Causeway Bay Books store saga might have shown that the city's One Country Two Systems framework is being threatened, but "Hong Kong people are still enjoying freedom of speech".

On June 18, some 6,000 protesters marched in the city demanding answers from authorities of both sides after one of the booksellers who went missing last year, Mr Lam Wing Kee, claimed that another of the booksellers, Mr Lee Bo, was abducted from Hong Kong.

Despite the big turnout, Mr Ivan Choy, senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, does not think the protest is evidence that Hongkongers want independence. He also does not think it is viable for Hong Kong to return to British rule as the legal procedures would be complicated and "the Chinese government or Britain would not be interested in such procedures".

Nevertheless, Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho said having another pro-independence party clearly shows the intention of some Hongkongers to "antagonise the Communist ruling party in China".

Still, he agrees that any call for independence is "totally unviable".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Another new HK party seeks break with China'. Print Edition | Subscribe