TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Hong Kong is undergoing the worst ever democracy regression since its handover to China in 1997, as indicated by the latest incident in which a legislative candidate was barred from running for an election on Nov. 25, argued a report by Voice of America.
Lau Siu-lai (劉小麗), a pro-democracy lawmaker, was disqualified by the Hong Kong government on the grounds that she advocates self-determination. A government statement asserted that advocating independence contravenes the Basic Law, the territory’s de facto constitution.
According to the report, Hong Kong authorities have stepped up efforts to quash pro-independence voices over the past years, including the disqualification of six members-elect of the Legislative Council in an oath-taking controversy in 2016, and the prohibition of three pro-democracy candidates from running this March.
In addition, Hong Kong authorities banned the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party in September invoking a 1997 national security law for the first time. The party has since been declared illegal and schools at all levels have been warned against providing assistance for the party in holding political events or else face criminal charges.
These incidents indicated that following the 2014 Umbrella Movement, China has tightened its grip and is believed to have authorized the Hong Kong government to seek retribution against political dissidents, particularly young pro-democracy activists, leaving Hong Kong democracy in peril, wrote Voice of America.