28 October 2016
Youth activists seen at the launch of the Demosisto political party in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: HKEJ
Youth activists seen at the launch of the Demosisto political party in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: HKEJ

New political groups urge self-determination referendum

Two newly-established political groups unveiled on Sunday their plans for the September Legislative Council elections and also their talking points regarding Hong Kong’s future. 

Both the groups, which are made up by activists who participated in the 2014 pro-democracy protests, said they would seek self-determination for Hong Kong.

Hongkongers should be allowed to determine their own future through a referendum, the groups said, suggesting that independence should be one of the options in the referendum.

One of the groups was Demosistō, the new political party led by Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow-ting and other student activists.

The party said it may field candidates in two constituencies in the LegCo polls, and also pledged in its manifesto that it will work toward a referendum in the future, Ming Pao Daily reported.

The referendum schedule could be announced as early as next month.

The announcement came the same day as an alliance of six post-Occupy localist groups, led by Youngspiration, also pledged to participate in the LegCo polls with a message of self-determination for Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong should have a referendum on its future by 2021, the coalition said, adding that it believes the referendum outcome will put great pressure on whoever is elected the city’s chief executive next year.

Youngspiration, whose so-called umbrella soldiers emerged as dark horses in the recent District Council elections, has joined forces with other five localist groups — the Kowloon East Community, Tin Shui Wai New Force, Community Establishment Power, Tsz Wan Shan Constructive Power, and Tuen Mun Community — to fight under a common platform in the LegCo election.

The alliance plans to put up candidates in four districts, namely Hong Kong Island, Kowloon East, Kowloon West, and New Territories West.

Demosistō, meanwhile, is looking at having its chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung and party member Kenneth Ip, also known as Shu Kei, fight for LegCo seats in Hong Kong Island.

Ip, a film director, is chair of the School of Film and Television at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Demosistō’s vice-chairman Oscar Lai Man-lok may contest in Kowloon East.

The plans mean that Youngspiration and Demosistō could face off each other in the two districts.

Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow are too young to run in the upcoming election.

With the new political groups basically taking a similar stand on the issue of Hong Kong’s future, some people have raised this question: what’s the difference between the two parties?

Well, according to Youngspiration, the largest difference is that the alliance led by Youngspiration has district councilors who are working on community issues at present.

Asked whether the group will support Hong Kong independence, spokesperson Wong Chun-kit said independence will be one of the options in the proposed referendum.

Demosistō’s Law, however, said that he does not believe that independence will work in the present situation.

Both parties said they’ll have to raise funds for the election through crowdfunding.

Youngspiration-led alliance said it needs around HK$3 million, while Demosistō gave a figure of HK$2 million.

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Six post-Occupy localist groups announce that they have joined forces to fight in the LegCo election later this year. Photo: Facebook

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