Date
20 October 2017
Did the Electoral Affairs Commission intend to weed out undesirable candidates with its so-called administrative"convenience? Photo: HKEJ
Did the Electoral Affairs Commission intend to weed out undesirable candidates with its so-called administrative"convenience? Photo: HKEJ

How Barnabas Fung muddled the Basic Law with a boner

Hong Kong politicians were stunned by a recent announcement by the Electoral Affairs Commission’s (EAC) that all candidates in the Sept. 4 Legislative Council elections must sign a declaration of allegiance to the Basic Law.

The requirement specifically instructed them to acknowledge that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China.

Many questioned the constitutionality of the measure. Some pan-democrats refused to sign the declaration outright.

EAC chairman Barnabas Fung later said the requirement was purely for “administrative convenience” for his staff and that not signing it would not affect the candidate’s eligibility.

Fung’s answer raised more questions.

For instance, what exactly did he mean by “administrative convenience”?

If it means enabling his EAC officers to weed out pro-independence candidates, it is not going to work.

There is no law in Hong Kong that makes pro-independence views illegal.

And it would be impractical to ask these civil servants, who are supposed to be politically impartial, to decide whether a candidate has violated the Basic Law by what that candidate has said.

Why did the EAC choose that part of the Basic Law that deals with sovereignty? Why not make all candidates pledge allegiance to all the articles of the Basic Law?

If a candidate publicly said that the functional constituency should be kept for good, isn’t that candidate in breach of Article 68 of the Basic Law, which provides for eventual election by universal suffrage?

Fung owes the public an explanation.

Apparently, the declaration is a means to stop any separatists from running for election.

I do not support independence for Hong Kong but I am against any attempt to introduce any form of political censorship.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 22

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA

HKEJ contributor

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