Hong Kong localism and independence

Hong Kong veteran politician Wong Yuk-man ‘quitting politics’

Wong also confirms he will not run in city’s upcoming Legislative Council by-elections and compete against young localists

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 April, 2017, 9:18pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 April, 2017, 2:13am

A veteran Hong Kong politician has announced his intention to quit politics, adding that he will not run in the city’s upcoming Legislative Council by-elections.

Wong Yuk-man, who lost his seat in Kowloon West to a young localist in last September’s Legco election, posted an 8,565-word article on his Facebook page on Friday, detailing his decision.

“I will not take part in political affairs [anymore] and will quit the political world,” he said. “I will not participate or organise any political groups, and will not join any elections.”

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The upcoming by-elections were triggered after a court disqualified two localist lawmakers-elect over their anti-China antics last year. In October, Youngspiration duo Yau Wai-ching, who beat Wong by 424 votes to win the Kowloon West seat, and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang pledged allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” and used a derogatory term to insult China during a swearing-in ceremony.

It prompted China’s top legislative body to interpret the Basic Law – the city’s mini-constitution – and make “insincere oaths” punishable by instant disqualification.

In his post, Wong saidthere was a high chance the pair would run in the by-elections and he could not bring himself to compete for a seat which he believed belonged to them.

Wong’s previous party, the Proletariat Political Institute, had teamed up with two radical and militant localist groups to campaign in the Legco election, but only one of the five candidates was elected.

“Hong Kong politics is at a transitional time when the new are replacing the old,” the 65-year-old said. “Baby-boomers like us should not block the way for youngsters. I’m over 60 and ... having serious eye problems ... It is time to say goodbye to politics.”

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Wong said he wanted to read more books and publish some academic research papers, adding that he would continue to host online shows and comment on current affairs.

He also called on young activists and politicians to be calm and not make “unnecessary sacrifices” amid government lawsuits against protesters, which have led to jail terms for some. “Hong Kong’s localist civil rights movement has a arduous and treacherous path, but the new generation has broken taboos and created a new way,” Wong said.