All candidates should sign form accepting China’s sovereignty

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 July, 2016, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 July, 2016, 11:34pm

On July 16, the same date the Legislative Council prorogued, a two-week registration period started for candidates seeking election to the new Legco in September.

The current registration system already requires candidates to sign a declaration in the nomination form to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to Hong Kong.

The Electoral Affairs Commission introduced a new requirement to sign an additional form confirming a clear understanding of the mini-constitution.

This covers the section of the Basic Law stating Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China with a high degree of autonomy and there is no amendment that contravenes the nation’s established basic policies regarding the city.

Candidates could submit their nominations without signing the new form but that could be a factor in deciding whether their candidacy would be approved.

Our association is concerned that a few political groups advocating separatism and even independence for Hong Kong could soon turn into an uncontrollable stream of demands leading to instability seriously damaging our city’s economy, social fabric and international image.

Living in an era often of political quicksands rather than stability, our association thinks the commission’s new confirmation form is timely as it encourages acceptance and support for the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” framework, instead of advocating secession and independence.

We urge candidates who do not subscribe to secession or independence to be transparent to the Hong Kong public on their political aspirations by signing the additional form.

It is apt to quote Professor Ho Lok-sang, consultant of the Pan Sutong Shanghai Hong Kong economic research policy centre, at Lingnan University, in his article in China Daily on July 19.

He said that “as long as the Electoral Affairs Commission acts according to the spirit of the Basic Law as the regulator of election affairs, it does have the legal power to ensure that candidates understand the Basic Law and intend to uphold it”.

He said the Basic Law was paramount, as was integrity. He also said, “It is disingenuous of legislators to say that they will not sign the declaration because they will make the declaration upon election anyway. Asking candidates to sign the declaration and telling them in advance that there are consequences for violating the declaration is wise.”

Hilton Cheong-Leen, life president, Frederick Lynn, chairman, Hong Kong Civic Association