Stop this farce, let Au Nok-hin get on with the job

It’s truly bizarre that both the localist and pro-government camps are challenging the election of the pan-democrat on Hong Kong Island

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 1:25am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 1:25am

Suddenly, people on opposing sides want to challenge pan-democrat Au Nok-hin for his by-election victory for the Hong Kong Island seat in the legislature. 

That’s from both the localist and pro-government camps. Can politics get any more bizarre? 

With help from former pro-Beijing lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing, a taxi union leader, Wong Tai-hoi, has applied for a judicial review challenging both Au and the government’s returning officer for allowing him to run in the by-election.

The filing rests on an incident in which Au was seen burning a copy of the Basic Law during a protest and which supposedly proved his unwillingness to uphold the city’s mini-constitution and pledge allegiance to Hong Kong to qualify as a legislator.

Au has responded by blasting the claim as “outrageous” on the ground that he was merely burning a printout of a cover page from the Basic Law. But isn’t every copy of the Basic Law a copy, in which case you can, arguably, never burn the “real” Basic Law? It’s the symbolism, Mr Au.

Legal expert casts doubt on judicial challenge against by-election winner

Meanwhile, localist Agnes Chow Ting, who was disqualified from running for the Hong Kong Island seat because of her support for self-determination for the city, is planning to launch an election petition against her disqualification.

This is the same young woman who endorsed Au to run as her substitute candidate and even went on stage to congratulate him on election night. If her petition goes ahead and succeeds, Au would have to give up his seat and another by-election would need to be held.

Chow claims her planned challenge is in the public interest because it would help clarify the validity of the returning officer’s decision and its criteria for future candidates. But we all know where she stands politically; it’s not like she has been shy about her brand of radical localism. She doesn’t recognise the constitutionality of the Basic Law or China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Hong Kong voters are ‘rational’ and by-election result ‘was expected’

But Au says he accepts and even welcomes her challenge. It’s hard to see how Chow’s latest manoeuvre is any less outrageous than those pro-Beijing guys. If anything, it’s even more farcical.

I don’t know about you but I recognise Au’s election as an opposition lawmaker, and I am not even a pan-democrat. To be sure, you can legally challenge this and that, but it doesn’t mean you should do it. Letting Au get on with the job is in the public interest.