Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Party Calls for HK's Independence

Chan Ho-tin announces the establishment of the Hong Kong National Party
Hong Kong may have another political party, though there are questions if it can legally exist.

In a one-man press conference in Tuen Mun on Sunday, former Occupy activist Chan Ho-tin announced the formation of the Hong Kong National Party.

He said the group would not recognize the Basic Law, the city's mini constitution, and that it would use "whatever means" available to push for independence, including fielding candidates in the Legislative Council elections in September and coordinate with other pro-independence localist groups.

"Staging marches or shouting slogans is obviously useless now. Regarding using violence, we would support it if it is effective to make us heard," he said. Chan claimed the party was entirely funded by donations from its 50-plus members, mostly university students and young activists.

However, the Department of Justice weighed in on the Hong Kong National Party, citing the Basic Law and that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.

Ho says wanting Hong Kong to be independent is not illegal
"Any suggestion that Hong Kong should be independent or any movement to advocate such independence would not be consistent with the legal status of Hong Kong... or the Basic Law. Nor would such suggestion or movement be conducive to the overall interests of [Hong Kong]."

But barrister and former lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said talking about independence without taking any action was protected by freedom of speech.

Democratic Party lawmaker and solicitor Albert Ho Chun-yan added that merely advocating for independence was not a criminal offense.

"Seditious intention has to include a tendency to incite violence or an intention to create public disorder," Ho said.

Chan has said that he is not afraid of the consequences, but also said calling for independence was not illegal. "It is not that we advocate independence, it is Hong Kong people who want to break from China."

It's very curious that yet another political party as formed, and if it is made official, it will further splinter the vote in September. What is the point of that? While it is understandable the party could appeal to a group of people, most know the wish for Hong Kong to be independent is just that -- a wish.

The Occupy protests in 2014 failed to get democracy in HK
Legally Hong Kong is a part of China -- there is not much more ordinary people can do about this. It is how we work around these parameters is what matters.

Despite the failure of the Occupy Movement in 2014, they are still looking for other avenues to raise their voices which is admirable. Many of us are jaded and don't think there is much more we can do.

However these young people are very idealistic without taking into account the reality of the situation. No one has a perfect answer, but calling for outright independence is not the solution.

In the meantime we will have to see if the Hong Kong National Party does get formal approval to register, and if so, how many votes can it realistically get? That's how to make their voices heard, not by being radical to the point of possibly being illegal...

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