Marching to different tunes: disqualified localist Legco candidates not keen on protest seen as pan-democrat tool

But march organiser Civil Human Rights Front says it is for every Hong Kong resident regardless of political views

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2016, 9:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2016, 12:49pm

A march to protest against the disqualification of six pro-independence Legislative Council candidates has drawn a lukewarm response from localist groups, as some questioned if the event was part of a campaign by pan-democrats.

But march organiser Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, convenor of Civil Human Rights Front – a group affiliated to pan-democratic camps in Hong Kong – dismissed the suggestion and said the march concerns “every resident’s political right and the city’s core values”.

Sham said: “In fact all residents are victims ... when political screening was applied to our Legco poll.” He added that candidates who are marching should avoid polls campaigning as it was not an election rally.

Hong Kong electoral officials acted within their scope in disqualifying candidates

Among the six disqualified candidates, Alice Lai Yi-man, Nakade Hitsujiko and Yeung Ke-cheong said they will attend.

It was not as clear for three others, who are arguably more well-known – James Chan Kwok-keung said he was very unlikely to go as it was “definitely part of the pan-democrats’ electioneering”, Chan Ho-tin said he has not yet decided, while Edward Leung Tin-kei could not be reached for comment.

The snub by localists highlighted the widening gap between them and the pan-democrats. Both had clashed in views on whether marches are effective in fighting for democracy, and if independence is a way out for Hong Kong’s political and social problems.

The march will start from East Point Road in Causeway Bay at 3pm on Sunday, and end at the chief executive’s office in Admiralty.

Disqualifying localist Legco candidates lets politics ‘eat into’ legal system, former Bar Association chair says

An application for police approval had been submitted, and the force was informed that up to 2,000 people will gather at East Point Road before the march kicks off.

Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee echoed Sham’s call for residents to take part regardless of their political views.

“Hong Kong’s core values were challenged one after the other since Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying took office in 2012 ... now even the neutrality of civil servants is compromised,” Eu said, referring to the controversial issue of election officials’ roles in the disqualification of pro-independence candidates.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung reiterated yesterday that returning officers did not exercise “political screening” in disqualifying the candidates.