Thursday, 4 August 2016

Justice Minister Accused of Double Standards

Hong Kong Indigenous' Edward Leung shows his rejection letter to the media
The whole fiasco over candidates in next month's Legislative Council elections having to sign an extra form is getting even bigger now that the justice minister has weighed in.

Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung waded into the controversy and created even more of a mess when he said Edward Leung Tin-kei of Hong Kong Indigenous was disqualified from the September 4 elections because of his pro-independence views, but not in the February by-elections because Yuen says Leung was not explicit about his stance then.

That immediately got the media in a tizzy because they have proof on the record that Leung had promoted independence as early as last December, well before his candidacy for the by-election was validated and gazetted on January 29. He came in third in that race for New Territories East with 16 percent of the vote, not to be scoffed at.

Leung came in third with an independence platform
And then Yuen tried to defend the Electoral Affairs Commission's decision to disqualify Leung on the basis that he had no intention of upholding the Basic Law.

But all 30 members of the legal sub-sector in the 1,200-member Election Committee that picked Hong Kong's chief executive in 2012, hit out with a joint statement yesterday.

They said returning officers were not empowered to investigate the "genuineness" of candidates' declarations to respect the city's mini constitution, let alone to make "a subjective and political decision to disqualify a candidate without following any due process on the grounds that a candidate will not genuinely uphold the Basic Law".

"Such an inquiry and decision are not only unlawful, but amount to political censorship and screening by the returning officer without any legal basis," they said.

Rimsky Yuen doesn't seem to have his facts straight on Leung
The 30 committee members are either from the pan-democratic camp or linked to it.

What is also strange is that while Leung changed his political stance to sign the form, 42 candidates from pan-democratic and localist parties were allowed to run even though they didn't sign the form.

There doesn't seem to be an explanation of how the electoral commission gave them the green light.

Chinese University political scientist Dr Ma Ngok said the justice minister's explanation was "subjective, selective and unconvincing".

"Many people have touched on independence one way or another, but why were some of them qualified but others not?" he asked.

Again -- why is the democratic process for the Legislative Council -- the only true one Hong Kong has -- being politicized? Why is the government meddling? It's doing a very clumsy job, and made even more outrageous when trying to explain itself out of a paper bag.

As justice minister, surely Yuen would not want to lose his credibility over such a fiasco?


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