Exclusive: Ensuring no one disguises as a patriot in upcoming elections ‘top priority’: HK chief secretary
Published: Jul 14, 2021 10:07 PM
John Lee Ka-chiu Photo: CFP

John Lee Ka-chiu Photo: CFP

As chief secretary for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and the chairman of the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee for local elections, John Lee Ka-chiu told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview that the priority of his work will be to make sure that nobody disguises as a "patriot" to take part in the upcoming elections, and in addition to the banned behaviors listed in local regulations, the committee will also consider candidates' conduct in a comprehensive way. 

While Hong Kong is scheduled to hold three important elections in the coming months, Lee told the Global Times that the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee will review the candidacy in accordance with regulations in the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance. 

Anyone who violates the national security law for Hong Kong, advocates or supports "Hong Kong independence" or pursues an activity for "self-determination of sovereignty or jurisdiction," solicits interference by foreign governments or organizations in Hong Kong affairs, compels the chief executive of the HKSAR government by any unlawful means to change a policy, organizes "de facto referendum" or desecrates the national flag or national emblem won't be allowed to take part in the elections, Lee said, laying out some examples on those who would be disqualified. 

Lee was appointed on July 6 as the chairman of the committee, which is composed of six others, with three government officials among them. The committee was set up to vet and confirm the qualifications of candidates for the Election Committee members, the Chief Executive and the LegCo members, according to a decision on improving Hong Kong's electoral system overwhelmingly adopted by National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, on March 11.

Lee, who has a background in police and security organs, was appointed by the State Council on June 25 as the new chief secretary for administration.

The committee won't be limited within the scope of those behaviors listed in the regulation, as it will also consider other behaviors outside the "prohibition list" in order to evaluate whether they meet the principle of "only patriots governing Hong Kong," Lee said. However, it's not the appropriate time to unveil which are the detailed criteria for other behaviors, "because if we release them now, it will help those who disguise themselves as patriots to pretend to pledge loyalty to the HKSAR government and to uphold the Basic Law," he said. 

"Candidates allowed to run in elections must be genuine patriots, which is my work priority," he said. 

To ensure the sustainable development of the "one country, two systems," full-scale implementation of the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong" is a must, according to officials from the Chinese central government and the HKSAR government. Since the national security law for Hong Kong took effect, the national security status and overall society stability have largely improved. However, there are still external forces waiting for the chance to conduct sabotage in the upcoming elections, Lee noted. 

"As result, the HKSAR government will conduct a full-scale risk evaluation for them, and make full preparations and deployment," he said. 

On the internet, we'll closely follow up and monitor information in case someone publishes information involving sabotage or instigation, and we'll take action immediately, Lee noted. 

Meanwhile, a large number of law enforcement officials will go on patrol to do security checks at every place related to the elections and take preventive measures. The Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong will also take part in the process to ensure there will be zero possibility for corrupt acts during the election process, the senior Hong Kong official noted.