Hong Kong court rejected on procedural grounds a challenge by pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong to his disqualification from last year’s district election in the city.
Opposition leaders and activists were closely watching Wong ‘s struggle as they pushed through traditional politics and demonstrations to push for greater democracy in the Chinese-ruled region. Wong, 23, was the only candidate to be rejected in the district council elections, with authorities arguing that his nomination violated electoral rules that prohibit the former British colony from ‘advocating or supporting self-determination.
Wong, who China considers international influences a “wild hand,” at the time that he backed the concept of a non-binding referendum for citizens to have a say in the potential status of Hong Kong within China. Yet he is against democracy, which Beijing is anathema to.
Judge Anderson Chow said Wong should have lodged an election appeal instead of a judicial examination in dismissing his opposition to his disqualification, suggesting he had selected the wrong legal option. Wong reported that after consulting counsel, he would determine his next move.
After leading demonstrations as a youth in 2012 and 2014, Wong, who became an international icon, was also among 12 opposition candidates recently barred from running for city legislature seats in elections. Those surveys were delayed to September 2021 by one year, with the government citing the possibility of the novel coronavirus.
Election officials said the reasons for disqualification from the election of the city legislature included alleged revolutionary motives, “opposition in theory” to a new Beijing-imposed national security law, and motives to establish a group that could obstruct government legislation.
Critics also said that the decision of the Hong Kong government to delay the elections was a move to undermine the semi-autonomous city’s pro-democracy opposition. The authorities in Hong Kong said that public health was the only concern.