A pro-independence candidate in the upcoming Legislative Council election has said he will send a “blank” election mailout to voters, after reports that the Electoral Affairs Commission censored other mailings.
Chan Chak-to of the Kowloon East Community group chose to send out mailings with conspicuous blank spaces and phrases like, “You can ban speeches, you can ban candidacies, but ideas are bulletproof,” and “My political view is [blank].”
Chan was one of the rare pro-independence candidates who were allowed to run in this election, while most other independence advocates were banned for participating.
“We believe that, according to reports, the election platforms we have made ready have the ‘sensitive phrases’ listed, and they will not be able to be posted,” he said. “We wanted to give up on sending the mailouts, but after the political screening [of candidates], we wished to present the truth to you.”
Chan has said he will continue speaking out for Hong Kong independence at election forums, and through other means.
Candidates enjoy a privilege that their mailouts could be sent to households for free through the official Hong Kong Post. Election mailouts submitted by three different groups containing words such as “self-determination” are being delayed by the election regulatory body, saying that it must first seek legal advice from the Department of Justice before confirming the mailouts.
Those included Demosisto, the Civic Party, and independent candidate Eddie Chu Hoi-dick.
Demosisto’s Nathan Law Kwun-chung decided to cover the “sensitive words” with symbols such as stars, moon and sun – which was finally approved.
More than half of the space on Chan Chak-to’s mailout is empty.
“The Electoral Affairs Commission is carrying out political censorship, suppressing freedom of speech, crushing all the political views that the regime does not want to see. Do we still want to live in a world of lies?” the mailout says.
Five hopefuls who advocated independence or a return to the UK were banned from running in the upcoming Legislative Council election.
The reason given by returning officers was that they were deemed unable to genuinely uphold the Basic Law, which was a declaration candidates were required to make in the nomination form.
However, a controversy arose over whether there was a legal basis for returning officer to exercise such power to inquire into the “genuineness” of the candidates’ declarations.
On Thursday, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor made a rare visit to the Department of Justice.
She met with Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwong-keung and other top department officials. The first stop of the tour for Lam was the Basic Law Unit – the unit that deals with legal issues relating to the Basic Law, ensuring that the Government’s work and its proposed policies and bills are consistent with the Basic Law.
“During the visit, Mrs Lam thanked the Department of Justice for upholding the rule of law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and providing professional legal advice to government bureaux and departments,” read a government statement.
The full list of candidates can be viewed here.