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Wang Guangya, former director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, called the slogans a ‘lawbreaking act’. Photo: Laura Zhou

People who chant ‘end one-party dictatorship’ slogan are breaking law and should be banned from seeking political office, says Wang Guangya

Beijing’s former top official in charge of Hong Kong affairs enters heated debate over whether those who call for end of ‘one-party dictatorship’ should be disqualified from elections

Hongkongers who chant slogans in favour of ending one-party rule in China are breaking the law and should not  be allowed to run for political office, Beijing’s former top official in charge of the city’s affairs said on Wednesday.

“The national constitution stipulates the country is led by the Chinese Communist Party,” Wang Guangya told reporters in the capital, before attending a National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee meeting. 

Wang – who was director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) until last year – was weighing in on a debate that erupted in March when  Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the standing committee, said those who call for an “ end to one-party dictatorship” risk disqualification from elections.
Tam said this after the  NPC passed constitutional amendments that further underlined the undisputed authority of the party.
Liaison office director Wang Zhimin called the slogan a ‘false proposition’. Photo: Sam Tsang

Wang, now a member of the standing committee, was speaking two days after Wang Zhimin, head of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, said it was “politically unethical” to call for an end to one-party dictatorship yet still want to be a lawmaker and part of the establishment.

Remarks on election ban for those calling for end to ‘one-party dictatorship’ are not official statement, Beijing envoy says

Wang Zhimin said on Monday the slogan was a “false proposition”, as the Chinese constitution stated the country was ruled “under the people’s democratic dictatorship” and a system of “multiparty cooperation and political consultation” led by the Communist Party.

When asked whether those who call for an end to “one-party dictatorship” should be allowed to run for a  Legislative Council seat, Wang Guangya said: “[They] shouldn’t, because this contravenes the national constitution. It’s a lawbreaking act … It is not a ‘one-party dictatorship’, but the target of the slogan is obvious.”

However, Wang added Hong Kong affairs “had nothing to do” with him since he stepped down from the HKMAO.

Shen Chunyao, chairman of the NPC’s Basic Law Committee – a body that advises Beijing on Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – declined to comment.

Last week, Qiao Xiaoyang, a retired chairman of the NPC’s law committee, appealed to Hongkongers to back the Communist Party. Qiao, who was in the city for  a week-long tour, said Hong Kong was under China’s “unitary system” and that the Chinese constitution encompassed the whole country.

Hong Kong election disqualification for those who lobby against one-party rule a ‘betrayal’ to city values

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said the different remarks given by Beijing officials were part of a Communist Party strategy to leave room for alternative plans to cope with the opposition.

“It is also exerting soft pressure on the Hong Kong government and election officers,” Wu said, referring to their future decisions in confirming candidacies. 

Beijing’s man in Hong Kong invites city democrats to his office (and they are very wary)

Wu’s party colleague Lam Cheuk-ting said Beijing would like to exert pressure on all of society, intimidating people so that they stop chanting the slogans. 

Tam Yiu-chung sparked the debate in March when he said those who call for an end to one-party dictatorship risk disqualification from elections. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

But he argued: “The constitution does not directly apply to Hong Kong. If it did, the Basic Law could be thrown away.”

Hong Kong should support Communist Party and not cross ‘legal line’ to oppose socialism, Qiao Xiaoyang says

Trade minister Edward Yau Tang-wah said in Jakarta on Wednesday that Wang’s comments were a “defence of the constitutional system from the side of state and government” and should be allowed as “part of the free speech of Hong Kong”. 

“On some occasions over the past few years, political tensions did affect the local economy but in the middle and long run, parties of different political stances – including the central government, the Hong Kong government and the business sector – would agree that the ‘one country, two systems’ principle must be defended,” Yau said, referring to the governing principle through which the city, under Beijing’s rule, has certain legal and political freedoms that mainland cities do not have. 

The pro-democracy camp – represented by the Civic Party’s Tanya Chan this year – has tabled a motion calling on lawmakers “not to forget the June 4 incident”, as they do every year to mark the Tiananmen Square crackdown of June 4, 1989. The debate will begin on May 9 at the earliest. 

In the past, some pan-democratic lawmakers called for an end to one-party dictatorship  during their speech on the subject in the Legco chamber. 
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Call to ban candidates who oppose party’s rule