Law decides if Chow Ting can contest election

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/28 23:28:41

The nomination of Agnes Chow Ting as a candidate in a Legislative Council by-election was ruled invalid by the Electoral Affairs Commission. As a leading member of the Demosisto, 21-year-old Chow has been pushing forward the localism movement and calling for Hong Kong's self-determination. These advocacies are often regarded as obscure expressions of "Hong Kong independence."

The Hong Kong government explained that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China, and "any suggestion of 'Hong Kong independence,' 'self-determination,' independence as a choice, or self-autonomy, is not in line with Basic Law requirements." Therefore, Chow is not qualified to contest elections.

The opposition accused the government of "depriving Hongkongers of their right to stand for election."

Under Hong Kong's system, official decisions are often opposed by certain forces, and it seems this will become a normal state for some time. It's unrealistic for the opposition to fully accept government decisions on public occasions.

As long as the by-election can be smoothly carried out, protests by Chow and her supporters are not a big deal. The process may see some twists and turns, but this is common in Hong Kong with a different system from the mainland.

In a capitalist society, the implementation of many decisions sometimes leads to controversy, and it is the law that has the final say. The opposition's voice can be turned down if it is not legal. The public should adapt to the clamor of Hong Kong society and accept the ultimate authority of the law.

A few years ago, some radical politicians from the opposition challenged the authority of the Basic Law, leading to political chaos. The Occupy Central Movement was almost out of control absent proper management. The interpretation of the National People's Congress has corrected the misconduct of Hong Kong politics and restored the authority of the Basic Law.

In the future, political extremist activity must be managed. Advocacy of Hong Kong independence in any form means zero possibility of being accepted by the mainstream political platform, which should be the general consensus of Hong Kong society.

Aside from a clear stipulation of the law, Hong Kong's political order must be shaped through rounds of struggles. After lawmakers who altered the oath in the swearing-in ceremony were disqualified from taking office, future lawmakers of the opposition will be deterred from taking the same action if they want to stay in the Legislative Council.

Chow's ban from the election sends a signal that advocating extreme thoughts can help garner attention, but it risks losing the opportunity of being a lawmaker. The logic will be clearer in the future.

The opposition force of Hong Kong is only an opposition group of a special administrative region under the jurisdiction of the central government. That means they can only play the role involving the internal affairs of Hong Kong and don't have the privilege of challenging constitutional principles.

Hong Kong will lose its distinction without an active opposition, but it is not what the "one country, two systems" policy expects if the opposition crosses the line to challenge the country's political and legal order.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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