Election mailouts submitted by two different lists containing words such as “self-determination” are being delayed by the election regulatory body. The news came as a fourth candidate was disqualified for the September election.
Nathan Law Kwun-chung of Demosisto and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick both said the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) was consulting the Department of Justice before it can confirm whether any of the mailouts would be allowed to be sent to households for free – a privilege given to candidates.
Law’s mailouts contained phrases like “civil referendum,” “self-determination movement,” and “autonomy is difficult under Chinese economic pressure.” Those of Chu included policies promoting the idea that Hong Kong people should determine their own political system in a democratic fashion.
‘Under political censorship’
Law even submitted a “self-censored” version to the EAC, as his team expected the move after a localist candidate was not allowed to send out his pamplets during the by-election in February.
The other version covered the “sensitive words” with symbols such as stars and included a sentence saying that it was a “mailout under political censorship,” along with a link to the “uncensored version.”
However, the EAC told Law it was also obtaining legal advice for that version.
Law said his team will not be able to print the materials in time if he did not get a reply from the EAC by Tuesday, and Hong Kong Post may not be able to send the pamphlets to households in time before the election.
“The EAC once again abused administrative procedures, blocking the rights of candidates to run in the election fairly,” Law said. He questioned whether the top level of the government pressured civil servants in the incident.
Chu said his team submitted their samples on July 26, but he only heard from the EAC on Monday.
He said the EAC has not told him when he will get a reply. He was also concerned that his mailouts would not reach voters’ households in time.
“Can such an election still be called fair?” he said.
Fourth candidate disqualified
Meanwhile, the candidacy of Alice Lai Yee-man of the Conservative Party of Hong Kong was rejected.
She was the fourth candidate to be disqualified after Chan Ho-tin of the Hong Kong National Party, Yeung Ke-cheong of the Democratic Progressive Party of Hong Kong, and Nakade Hitsujiko of Nationalist Hong Kong.
The returning officer of Hong Kong Island previously sent an email to her questioning her party’s political stance on Hong Kong potentially rejoining the United Kingdom.
In a reply, Lai said her party only suggested that Hong Kong people should consider the option, and that the UK government should be open to such an option.
“Our question is whether it would contravene Article 1 of the Basic Law to lobby the British Government?” she wrote. Article 1 stipulates that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.
She acknowledged that Hong Kong is a part of China in her reply, but stated that Hong Kong should enjoy a high degree of autonomy, according to the Basic Law.