Thursday, 5 May 2016

Challenging HK's Constitution

Edward Leung is calling for a judicial review regarding self-determination
The upcoming Legislative Council elections are already interesting, with many young people running for seats, and now there's a slight twist that will be keenly watched on all sides.

Edward Leung Tin-kei, who won 66,000 votes or 15 percent in a by-election in February, has lodged an appeal for a judicial review at the High Court. He wants the judiciary to decide whether people who call for self-determination or Hong Kong's independence, are constitutionally protected under freedom of speech.

This comes after the Registration and Electoral Office refused to circulate his politically sensitive election leaflets, as well as threats from Beijing and Hong Kong officials for possibly being criminally liable for promoting independence from China.

Is the Hong Kong National Party a threat to national security?
The leaflet had words such as "self-independence", "autonomy" and "resistance by force".

"Self-determination ought to be protected under freedom of expression," Leung said. "We have the right to discuss it -- whether the government likes it or not."

The electoral office did not comment on Leung's legal action.

In his documents submitted to the court, the localist activist claimed his freedom of expression of violated by the electoral office's decision not to disseminate his leaflets, and that it was contrary to the Bill of Rights.

Because of the electoral office's decision, it had advised the Post Office not to provide free postage, even though election candidates are entitled to such a service.

 Yuen is looking into the Hong Kong National Party case
Meanwhile the Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, is looking into whether the recently established Hong Kong National Party had broken any laws by setting up a party that advocated the city's independence.

Yuen is probably under pressure from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, as it claimed the party, established in March, posed a threat to national security.

Both cases are very interesting, and we are waiting with baited breath to see what the courts say. Those verdicts will definitely affect how residents feel about their city, if they feel more alienated than ever, or that rule of law is still functioning as it should.

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