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NPC

NPC

Beijing imposes anti-independence rules on Hong Kong deputies to China’s top legislature

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 7:55pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 December, 2016, 8:15pm

Candidates running in the election of Hong Kong deputies to China’s top legislature in December next year will have to make a declaration to swear allegiance to the nation and uphold its constitution as well as the city’s Basic Law.

The new requirement was endorsed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee at the closing session of its meetings which ended on Sunday.

Ma Fung-kwok, a Hong Kong deputy who attended the session, said candidates running for election to the NPC would be required to swear allegiance to the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. They would also need to pledge to uphold the city’s mini-constitution and the nation’s constitution.

“I believe the new requirement is related to recent calls for Hong Kong independence and separatism,” Ma said.

The requirement for signing an extra confirmation form was introduced in July during the nomination period for September’s Legislative Council elections amid a rising tide of calls for Hong Kong independence. Critics condemned the measure as censorship of political thought and some pan-democrats questioned its legality.

In October, the Electoral Affairs Commission announced that the Hong Kong government’s move to screen out independence advocates from Legco Council polls would be extended to the election of the city’s top leader next March.

According to guidelines issued in October by the Electoral Affairs Commission, chief executive candidates will have to sign a “confirmation form” to acknowledge their understanding of the Basic Law. This is in addition to the requirement for candidates to sign a declaration that they will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR.

The next five-year term of the NPC will start in 2018. The election of the 36 Hong Kong deputies is scheduled for December next year.