International

Hong Kong democracy activist barred from election

Hong Kong, Oct 29 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 10/29/2019 12:23:42 PM IST

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong was barred Tuesday from standing in an upcoming local election, after months of huge and frequently violent protests in the city. Wong, one of the most prominent figures in the otherwise leaderless and faceless movement, accused the government of “political screening” after an election officer ruled his nomination for the November poll invalid.

“I strongly condemn the government for conducting political screening and censorship, depriving me of my political rights,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page.

In response to media enquiries, a government spokesman said Wong’s nomination was declared invalid as he advocates “self-determination” for Hong Kong, which is inconsistent with the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.

“The candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws,” the spokesman added. Hong Kong has been battered by nearly five months of pro-democracy protests which Beijing and its local leaders have taken a hard line against.

Millions have hit the streets, with hardcore activists clashing repeatedly with police, in the biggest challenge to China’s rule since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997.

Wong, 22, is one of the most well-known pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong today after becoming the poster child of the huge pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement” protests of 2014 that failed to win any concessions from Beijing. Wong and his party, Demosisto, have denied supporting independence for the city.

The government spokesman denied any political censorship in the decision to disqualify Wong.

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