In preparation for the Hong Kong Legislative Council’s elections next month, the Hong Kong government has added a demand that is not part of the Legislative Council Ordinance: Candidates must sign a document to recognize that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.
As there is no basis for this requirement, parties in the pan-democracy camp, as well as the three pro-independence parties — Hong Kong Indigenous, Younginspiration and the Hong Kong National Party — refused to sign the document.
On Saturday, the Hong Kong government informed the candidate with the strongest pro-independence views, Chan Ho Tin (陳浩天) of the Hong Kong National Party, that he was not qualified to run.
Interference by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is increasing, although this interference is restricted to “phantom voters” or offering small bribes. These are sure to be the actions of political parties and the CCP’s liaison office in Hong Kong, but the Hong Kong government continues to say that it is impartial.
In the past, no candidate was ever disqualified because of their political stance, and based on the experiences of election observers, the vote-counting process has been fair and impartial.
Hong Kongers still believe in the “one country, two systems” model, because government officials continue to remain neutral in elections and the courts still maintain their independence and neutrality.
The use of a requirement that does not exist in the Legislative Council Ordinance to disqualify Chan’s candidacy is a matter of filtering candidates according to political standards. If pro-independence candidates are disqualified today, then candidates demanding that those behind the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre be held responsible could well be the next to be disqualified, and that could even be followed by pro-Beijing candidates opposed to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英).
That would turn the “one country, two systems” model into an empty political slogan: not only would it no longer be possible to use it to try to cheat Taiwanese, even Hong Kongers would stop believing in it. Judging from Leung’s actions, China has clearly abandoned any attempts to use the “one country, two systems” model to deceive Taiwanese.
If taking a soft approach does not work, then it is likely to take a tough approach toward Taiwan. Looking at the issue from this perspective, Taiwan must be more proactive in preventing a Chinese invasion and it must remove any corrupt pro-China elements and other people that China has secret dealings with from its military forces and national security organizations. This is necessary, because China could take military action against Taiwan at any time and for any reason, ignoring the reactions of the US, Japan and other nations.
Martin Oei is a political commentator based in Hong Kong.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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