Pro-independence activist Andy Chan Ho-tin has filed an appeal against his failed election bid at the city’s highest court on Tuesday. He asked for the trial to be postponed as he awaits an appeal on his legal aid application.
In February, the Hong Kong National Party founder lost his bid to overturn the 2016 Legislative Council election, in which he was barred from running. Including Chan, six were barred from running in the Legislative Council election in 2016 for their political views.
Chan’s new application for legal aid was rejected while he considered filing an appeal at the highest court, just two days ahead of the deadline this week. Appeal rules state that he must apply to the Court of Final Appeal instead of the lower level Court of Appeal.
“If the court does not agree to postpone the trial, or if I fail to get legal aid, I may consider retracting the appeal,” he said.
“This appeal causes me a lot of pressure and risk. Even if I receive legal aid, it is very likely that I will have to shoulder hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees,” he added. “But after thorough consideration, I believe it is my responsibility, and I am the only one who can file this appeal.”
“For the sake of Hong Kong people’s freedom of election, freedom of speech and freedom of thought, I believe it is worthwhile to bear the risk.”
He said the court will face a political decision between Hong Kong’s human rights and rule of law, and China’s rule of man.
“Since the recent judgments on the Legislative Council [disqualifications], the courts have chosen to bow to pressure from the Chinese government. If the courts continue to bow down to the pressure, I would be very pessimistic about my case. But I choose to persist, because miracles only happen when we don’t give up,” he said.
Chan intended to run in the New Territories West Constituency as leader of the Hong Kong National Party in 2016. He signed a confirmation form vowing to uphold the Basic Law as required by the electoral office. He was asked by the returning officer if he would maintain his pro-independence position, but Chan did not give a reply.
Chan then received a notice from the electoral office saying that he was barred from standing as a candidate.