Face of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party: students and 20-somethings who shun outside donors
Convenor Chan Ho-tin says the radical group is entirely funded by its members to guarantee its ‘autonomy and sustainability’
The emergence of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party has led to intense media scrutiny of the group’s background, as few details have emerged since it announced itself on the local political scene.
At the party’s first press conference on Monday, which was held in an industrial building in Tuen Mun, only the group’s convenor Chan Ho-tin and another person to handle the press were in attendance.
While a student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University last year he led a campaign in an attempt to split the student union from the Hong Kong Federation of Students.
When asked by reporters who the party’s other members were, Chan said: “Our party members are made up of active university students, as well as some fresh graduates who have been working for a few years, and professionals. They are mostly in their 20s.”
Chan stressed the party was entirely funded by its members, a point the group has since reiterated on its Facebook page.
Speaking on myradio.hk, an online radio programme, Chan on Tuesday stated that the party did not have a single funder, as he believed such an arrangement would hamper the group’s autonomy and sustainability.
“Due to limited resources, all the decoration of the press conference venue was done by party members through day and night,” the post read.
The group has said it would use “whatever means effective” to push for independence, including fielding candidates in the Legislative Council elections in September.
When asked on the radio programme how they would protest if elected into the legislature, Chan said he would at least punch someone to “vent his anger”.
“When someone asked [the legislature] to approve the funding request concerning hundreds of millions dollar, it would be great if we could at least punch him,” said Chan. “We might not be able to block [the funding request] but at least we could vent the anger by hitting him.”
Another member of the group also said on the programme they could emulate opposition parties in Kosovo by releasing tear gas inside the chamber.
The founding of the party comes amid a growing presence of localist groups in the city.
Hong Kong Indigenous, which rose to prominence after netting over 60,000 votes in the recent by-election, so far has not been advocating for the city’s independence.
But in light of the emergence of the new party, its leader Edward Leung Tin-kei said calling for Hong Kong to split from the mainland could become its main aim in the future.
Beijing’s criticism has raised questions about whether the Hong Kong National Party could field candidates in the Legco elections. But according to the Legislative Council Ordinance, a person would not be barred from running simply because he advocates independence.
The ordinance states that any Hong Kong resident aged 21 or above who has no right of abode in any foreign country can be nominated as a candidate. But that person will be disqualified if he is bankrupt, mentally ill, has not served his time in jail, or if he was imprisoned for more than three months within five years before the poll.
Additional reporting by Jeffie Lam