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STATEMENT ON BARRING AGNES CHOW FROM STANDING IN BY-ELECTION
1. The Retuning Officer informed today (27 Jan) that Agnes Chow has been barred from standing for the by-election because of her political affiliation. Demosisto strongly condemns the government's decision.
2. The Administration has already given Chow inconveniences regarding her citizenship ever since she submitted her materials, but has never challenged nor further inquired her political stance.
3. Back in the 2016 election, the office has requested candidates to provide additional information to affirm whether their stance meets election standards. The procedures this time are certainly different: Civil servants are given the power to judge candidates’ political stance when confirming nominations, without offering them any opportunity to explain.
4. The explanation offered by the Returning Officer has not given specific reference to past comments by Chow. Instead it only lists Demosisto’s platform, effectively stripping the rights of all members of the group to run in elections, barring Demosisto from the legislature.
5. Paragraph 10 of the decision clearly cites developments since the 2016 election. This indicates the decision is political, a violation of the civil servants’political neutrality.
6. Paragraph 10 also cites the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law. We condemn once again Beijing’s destruction of Hong Kong’s rule of law. In addition, the interpretation sets rules for swearing-in procedures, which should not have any relation to one’s right to stand for election. The office should not have the power to further interpret Beijing’s interpretation as it removes basic rights of Hong Kong citizens.
7. For Demosisto, this incident is a payback against an entire generation. Demosisto members have both been imprisoned and barred from entering the political establishment. The government’s motivation is to demolish the youth’s desire to push forward social change in Hong Kong. Momentum gained from the Umbrella Movement will be absent from the legislature.
8. The government’s removal of the right to stand for election is virtually a permanent stripping of Hong Kongers’ political rights. The UNHRC points out that one’s political positions should not be the basis of whether one can participate in the democratic process. The decision is therefore an unconstitutional, anti-human rights one.
27 January 2018