A 21-year-old leader of the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests has stepped up to help achieve the opposition’s goal of regaining the four seats it lost in the Legislative Council last year.
Agnes Chow Ting, a standing committee member of the youth party Demosistō, on Thursday filed her application with the Registration and Electoral Office to join the Legco by-election for a seat in the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency, Apple Daily reports.
She was accompanied by party comrades, including Demosistō chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who won the Hong Kong Island seat in last year’s election but was later disqualified for invalid oath-taking.
Chow served as spokesperson for the now defunct student activist group Scholarism, which led the massive street protests more than three years ago to demand genuine universal suffrage in the 2016 chief executive election.
To show her determination to run in the election, Chow announced that she has renounced her British citizenship and that she will sign the confirmation form, as required by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), declaring that she will uphold the Basic Law – the city’s mini-constitution – and her understanding that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China as stipulated in Article 1, Hong Kong is a local administrative region of China, which shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy and come directly under the central government as stipulated in Artice 12, and no amendment to the Basic Law shall contravene the established basic policies of China regarding Hong Kong as stipulated in 159(4) of the Basic Law.
With that, Chow believes the government has no legitimate reason to disqualify her from joining the race as every Hong Kong citizen has the right to stand for election.
By-elections will be held on March 11 to fill the four seats in three geographical constituencies－Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East－and one functional constituency, the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector.
Dismissing some media reports that she is not qualified to run because of her political stance, Chow reiterated that Demosistō does not advocate Hong Kong independence but self-determination, adding that she and her comrades believe Hong Kong citizens should decide their fate by themselves.
Asked if there is any back-up plan should her candidacy be denied, Chow said Demosistō will nominate her replacement, the identity of which cannot be disclosed for the time being, as Plan B. She called on the electoral officer to announce any decision on her qualification as soon as possible.
Au Nok-hin, a member of the Southern District Council who quit the Democratic Party last year, revealed he has been chosen for Plan B.
Au, who is currently deputy convenor of the pro-democracy group Civil Human Rights Front, told Apple Daily that the government should not block Chow’s candidacy as she meets all the requirements.
He said Chow is the best choice for the pan-democratic camp and will easily win the by-election.
In case no reply is received from the electoral office a few days before the nomination period ends on Jan. 29, he will register to run for the Hong Kong Island seat, Au said, adding that Demosistō has collected sufficient nominations for his candidacy.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who represents the legal sector, said the democrats have sent a letter to Justice Barnabus Fung Wah, the EAC chairman, demanding a meeting to discuss criteria regarding candidates’ qualifications.
It is unreasonable and baseless that those who were stripped of their Legco seats last year would be prohibited from running again, Kwok said.
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