Hong Kong puts ban on Pro-independence party


Hong Kong’s government issued an unprecedented ban against a pro-independence political party that it has called a risk to national security, raising concerns over tolerance of dissent in the Asian financial hub.
“The Hong Kong National Party has a very clear agenda to achieve its goal of Hong Kong being made an independent republic,” John Lee, the city’s security secretary, said at a briefing on Monday. The party could use force to achieve its goal and had spread “hatred and discrimination” against Chinese visitors to Hong Kong, he said.
The decision risks fanning fears the city’s administration wants to set a precedent for clamping down on other opposition groups, eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework in place since Chinese rule began in 1997. It may also lay the groundwork to revive a shelved national security law prohibiting secession and subversion.
The ban represents the latest attempt to squelch the small movement that sprung up after mass “Occupy Central” protests in 2014 failed to win any democratic reforms. In 2016, the Chinese government reinterpreted local law to ban such activists from public office. Local officials this year barred a legislative candidate because she supported “self-determination.”
“The decision could have a chilling effect that stifles democratic debate on a topic that is not an illegal act per se under current legislation,” said Chris Ng, a convener of the Progressive Lawyers’ Group, which promotes democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend