Democratic candidate Agnes Chow disqualified from Hong Kong election

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Pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow, 21, attends a rally in front of her portrait after she was banned from running in a by-election, in Hong Kong, China January 28, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Hong Kong’s electoral affairs commission banned a 21-year-old pro-democracy activist from running in the island’s by-election after it declared her running platform was contrary to the island’s “basic law.”

Agnes Chow was barred from running in the election as she was advocating “democratic self-determination,” described in the notice from the chief officer of Hong Kong Island Geographical Constituency.

The decision was supported by the Government of HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region).

“The candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws, since advocating or promoting ‘self-determination’ is contrary to the content of the declaration that the law requires a candidate to make to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the HKSAR,” said a press release from the HKSAR government.

Chow, a citizen of Hong Kong who renounced her British citizenship, is the spokesman of pro-democracy movement Demosistō and a former member of Scholarism, an organization of students who led the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution.”

Chow announced her candidacy via Facebook, which was aimed at taking back the seat of Nathan Law, the former lawmaker and the chairman of Demosistō.

Law was sentenced to eight months in prison (South China Morning Post) for his leadership in the Umbrella Revolution and is currently released on bail. He is the youngest lawmaker of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

On October 12, 2016, Law and the other five elected legislative members modified their oaths by taking long pauses, adding words or including statements before and after their oaths. A court later said that the modifications disqualified them from serving (South China Morning Post).

“Many people were angry and disappointed over the … oath taking process,” said CY Leung, the chief executive of Hong Kong (Hong Kong Free Press).  Their activity was condemned by the HKSAR Goverment, resulting in the by-election in 2018.

On behalf of Chow, Au Nok-hin will become the backup candidate of pro-democracy camp. He will need to face challenges from Judy Chan, a member of pro-Beijing party New People’s Party, and Edward Yum, the former member of pro democracy group People Power.

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