Right to Remain Silent Gone in Hong Kong?

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Summary: “The Chinese are deprived of a right even more basic than freedom of speech, i.e., the right to remain silent” — Dr. Hu Shih, Former Republic of China Ambassador to America. Recently, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, a current Hong Kong lawmaker, was banned from running in a rural election by the HK authorities for failing to overtly oppose HK independence. 6 candidates, e.g., the allegedly pro-independence Edward Leung Tin-kei and Andy Chan Ho-tin, were similarly barred from standing in the 2016 Legco election for their political stance, and 4 candidates banned in the 2018 by-elections,  e.g., Agnes Chow Ting and Lau Siu-lai for their alleged pro-self-determination stance.  All these apparently contravene Articles 2 & 2 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 26 of the Basic Law, and Articles 1 & 21 of The HK Bill of Rights Ordinance, which all guarantee the right of every citizen to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections without distinction of their political opinion. Ironically, Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, a HK lawmaker, is going to USA, intending to persuade American politicians and businessmen to keep the HK Policy Act on the ground that HK’s rule of law is still intact.

 

FULL TEXT:

 

“Not only must you not advocate independence, you have to oppose it”

 

Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, a pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker was banned earlier this month by Hong Kong’s Electoral Affairs Commission from running in a rural election on the ground that he “did not answer directly whether, he himself, as a prospective candidate for the rural representative election, promotes or supports independence as an option for ‘self-determination’ and that he failed to sign a confirmation form (in addition to the standard nomination form) stating that the candidate will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. “I think the incident has revealed this logic – not only must you not advocate independence, you have to oppose it,” he told reporters, “Otherwise, you will be deprived of your own political rights.” “The political logic behind the inquisition comes from the Cultural Revolution, where everyone had to be thought police,” Chu said, arguing that the government was forcing him to oppose others’ advocacy of Hong Kong independence.

 

10 Candidates Banned before for their Political Stance

 

Besides Chu, numerous other candidates have been barred from running in other HK elections before for their political stance. All these most probably contravene Articles 2 & 2 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 26 of the Basic Law, and Articles 1 & 21 of The HK Bill of Rights Ordinance.  For example, in the 2017 Legco election, 6 candidates were banned:- Edward Leung Tin-kei, Andy Chan Ho-tin, Nakade Hitsujiko, and CHAN Kwok-keung for their pro-independence advocacy; Alice Lai for advocating UK-HK reunification; Yeung Kai-cheong for refusing to declare that he advocates the Basic Law. (Edward Leung and Chan Kwok-keung, in their application, did declare that they did not support independence, but the election officer deemed their declaration “not sincere and genuine” enough.)

 

3 candidates were barred from the March 2018 by-election, including Ventus Lau Wing-hongand Chan Kwok-keung for their pro-independence stance, Agnes Chow Ting Chow for her self-determination advocacy.

 

Lau Siu-lai was banned from the November 2018 by-election for her PREVIOUS self-determination advocacy. Lau is also one of the six democratically elected lawmakers disqualified between 2016 and 2017 for their oath-taking manners which involved political gestures and statements.

 

Articles of Political Rights Violated

 

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 2

  1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

 

Article 25

Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:

(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;

 

The HK Bill of Rights Ordinance

Article 1

Entitlement to rights without distinction

(1)

The rights recognized in this Bill of Rights shall be enjoyed without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

 

Article 21

Right to participate in public life

Every permanent resident shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 1(1) and without unreasonable restrictions—

(a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

(b) to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;

 

Article 26 of The Basic Law
Permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have the right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with law.

Photo credit: RTHK

(Text: Chapman Chen from Local Press)


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