Hong Kong Democrats get questionnaires to prove poll eligibility

Hong Kong's Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung campaigning for the primary election in Hong Kong on July 12, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - At least seven potential pro-democracy candidates for Hong Kong's Legislative Council elections in September have received questionnaires from the government asking them to show they haven't violated the city's mini Constitution or the recently imposed security law.

Mr Alvin Yeung and Mr Cheng Tat Hung of the Civic Party, Mr Kenneth Leung who plans to represent the accountancy sector, and four other opposition figures received letters of inquiry from their respective electoral officers requesting that they validate their applications for the elections, according to reports in Ming Pao, HK01 and Stand News.

Mr Yeung was asked to explain his recent visit to the United States where he met American officials and called for sanctions against certain Hong Kong officials, and if he will continue lobbying foreign governments, according to the letter seen by Bloomberg. It cited Mr Yeung's social media posts and media interviews.

"Your requests to foreign countries to make legislation to sanction the Hong Kong government is in fact pressuring the government with the help of foreign powers and inviting foreign forces to interfere in Hong Kong's internal affairs," the letter to Mr Yeung said.

"How would such behaviour concur with what you declared in your nomination statement to uphold the Basic Law and to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region?"

Beijing passed a national security law in late June for the former British colony, criminalising subversion and collusion with foreign forces, with the maximum punishment being a life sentence.

The city's pro-democracy parties this month held a two-day primary, drawing more than 600,000 voters in an effort to narrow a surge of candidates ahead of the September elections.

Hong Kong's government and China's top agency in the city have said the process could violate the new security measures, and pledged to investigate and possibly prosecute the primary's organisers.

The unofficial voting process was designed to overcome fractures in the opposition movement between traditional democrats and more radical so-called "localists", and present an organised slate of candidates that could then benefit from the momentum generated by last year's historic protests to oust pro-establishment rivals.

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