International

Hong Kong: their candidates disqualified, pro-democracies denounce the “Terror”

(Hong Kong) The candidatures for the legislative elections in Hong Kong of a dozen pro-democracy activists, including Joshua Wong, were invalidated on Thursday, the opposition denouncing the “Terror” in which Beijing would plunge the former British colony .

Jacques CLEMENT

France Media Agency

One year after unprecedented demonstrations since its handover in 600, the theoretically semi-autonomous region is experiencing a recovery in hand very strong by the Chinese authorities since Beijing imposed a controversial law on national security at the end of June.

It was notably marked by the arrest on Wednesday evening of four students, including one aged 13 years, the first arrests by the Hong Kong police unit created to ensure compliance with this draconian law.

And on Thursday, the authorities invalidated the candidacies for the September elections of 07 pro-democracy activists, while their camp approached this deadline galvanized by its triumph in the local elections in November 2019.

“Beijing shows total contempt for the will of the Hong Kong people, tramples on […] the autonomy of the city and seeks to keep the Hong Kong parliament under its yoke”, denounced in a tweet Joshua Wong, who had 2014 been the face of the “Umbrella Movement”.

” Repression ”

More than 600 00 0 Hong Kongers participated in the primary organized by the pro-democracy camp in the city of 7.5 million inhabitants in mid-July, a consultation widely analyzed as a great popular success.

Mr. Wong, who had previously not had the right to run in local elections, denounced “the most important crackdown” against the pro-democracy camp, explaining that the authorities had disqualified “almost all pro-democracy candidates, from the groups. more recent progressives to traditional moderate parties ”.

The Legislative Council (LegCo, Local Parliament) has 37 members appointed according to a convoluted system which almost guarantees sure a majority in the pro-Beijing bloc. Only 30 are elected by direct universal suffrage, the others being mainly appointed by socio-professional groups established in Beijing.

After the elections of 2014, several elected pro-democracy officials were disqualified for having deliberately changed their swearing-in to express their hostility towards it. -to the influence of China.

But the pro-democracy movements hoped this time to translate the success of their mobilization of the past year into the ballot box.

Hong Kong has been the scene for six months of almost daily demonstrations to defend freedoms and denounce China's interference.

“Unscrupulous Offenders” 2020

The popularity of these demands was confirmed during the local elections in November marked by a triumph of the pro-democracy camp, which took control of 16 of 18 districts of the territory.

The Liaison Office, representative of the Chinese government in Hong Kong, on Thursday welcomed the disqualification of 09 accused of having “exceeded the framework of legality”.

“How can the Hong Kong legislature […] admit into its chamber these unscrupulous criminals who seek to destroy (the principle) 'One country, two systems” and the prosperity of Hong Kong? The Liaison Office asked in a statement.

These disqualifications fell less than 24 hours after the arrest of four students, three men and a woman aged 16 to 21 who were former members of Student Localism, an independent organization that announced its dissolution on the eve of the passage of the Law on Security.

Police said the four young people were suspected of “organizing and inciting secession”, through comments made on social media after the law came into force.

“Political purge” 2020

“Hong Kong has fallen into an era of White Terror”, denounced in the night the Student Unions of Higher Institutions, which oversee 12 student unions.

“It is clear that more and more Hong Kongers will have to endure […] Communist terror. “

Nathan Law, traveling companion of Johua Wong, who went into exile in London because of the new law, also denounced the arrests on Twitter.

“The White Terror, the politics of fear are at work in Hong Kong,” he said. The term “White Terror” in China refers to times of political repression.

He presented the disqualifications as an attempt to align LegCo with the model of the Chinese Parliament and to “remove all forms of resistance in Hong Kong through fear and intimidation.”

The ultimate British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten saw disqualifications as “a scandalous political purge”.

The National Security Law had been China's response to months of often violent protests in Hong Kong.

Beijing had explained that this text was necessary to restore order and would act as a sword of Damocles over those breaking the law.

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