Hong Kong activist barred from joining local election

HONG KONG • Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred yesterday from standing in the upcoming local election after months of huge and frequently violent protests in the city.

Mr Wong, 22, one of the most prominent figures in the otherwise leaderless movement, accused the government of "political screening" after an election officer ruled invalid his nomination for the November polls.

He was the only candidate barred from standing in an election for district councils, which tackle regional issues. The election is the first to be held since the historic anti-government protests started. He accused the government yesterday of censorship in disqualifying him.

"The decision to ban me from running for office was clearly politically driven," he said.

Mr Wong and his party, Demosisto, have denied supporting independence for the city. They advocate self-determination and a referendum for Hong Kong people to decide how they want to be governed.

The election officer wrote in her reasoning that Mr Wong's concept of self-determination does not rule out the independence of Hong Kong as an option, which she deemed inconsistent with the Basic Law, the city's mini-Constitution.

A Hong Kong government spokesman said that the administration supported the decision.

"There is no question of any political censorship, restriction of the freedom of speech or deprivation of the right to stand for elections as alleged by some members of the community," the spokesman said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2019, with the headline 'HK activist barred from joining local election'. Print Edition | Subscribe