Activists criticize Hong Kong's ban of legislative candidate

BEIJING (AP) — Activists are protesting the Hong Kong government's disqualification of a legislative candidate who advocated self-determination for the Chinese territory.

The government announced Friday that Lau Siu-lai was barred from running in a Nov. 25 election. Lau was stripped off a seat in the Hong Kong legislature in 2016.

Election authorities said Lau's previous statements in support of self-determination for Hong Kong were illegal.

Hong Kong Watch, a human rights group, criticized the decision as a violation of the "right to stand in free and fair elections."

Hong Kong authorities are stepping up efforts to quash pro-independence voices ahead of the election. In September, authorities banned a pro-independence political party, citing a national security law.