Ousted lawmaker Dr. Edward Yiu Chung-yim has already received the green light to run in the Legislative Council by-elections, yet the returning officer was still questioning him about a forum in Taiwan organized by the independence-leaning New Power Party which Yiu was invited to attend a year ago.
This has raised questions about whether the government is going to ban any form of dialogue or exchange between Hong Kong political figures and Taiwan’s political groups, especially those pro-Taiwan independence groups.
According to sources familiar with the matter, since Beijing has become highly vigilant against any possible collusion between separatists in Hong Kong and Taiwan in recent years, the Hong Kong government is now on full alert whenever any local political figure goes to Taiwan for interaction with groups there, even though the event is only a seminar.
The government would pay attention to what they say and do, including broadcasting live on the internet, as well as relevant coverage by Taiwan’s media.
According to a pan-dem, the authorities in general have a good grasp of the political stance of Yiu as well as what he has said and done in Hong Kong, and the returning officer was questioning him about his trip to Taiwan and his connection with the New Power Party probably because the government wanted to make sure he didn’t make remarks supporting Hong Kong independence in Taiwan.
He said Yiu’s “special treatment” implies that from now on, any pro-Hong Kong independence or pro-Taiwanese independence remarks publicly made by any Hong Kong citizen, whether those remarks were made in Hong Kong or in Taiwan, could be used by the authorities as grounds for denying that individual the right to stand for Legco election.
In the meantime, it is said that some in the pro-Beijing camp were dismayed to hear that Yiu’s candidacy was cleared, and complained that the government was being too lenient.
In fact, the government’s approval of Yiu’s candidacy has immediately provoked a backlash from pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong, which have been lashing out at Yiu in their editorials over the past week.
(Other candidates running in the Legco by-election for a seat in the Kowloon West geographical constituency are Vincent Cheng Wing-shun of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Jonathan Tsoi Tung-chau, an independent.)
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 5
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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