|The government threatening to shut down the pro-independence party|
|John Lee says the party has 21 days to explain its existence|
It's simultaneously impressive and scary how much information the police have collected on Chan and his party.
|Andy Chan held a one-man press conference in 2016|
"Regarding the use of violence, we would support it if it was effective in making us heard," Chan said in a press conference he held by himself.
His boldness caught the attention of the authorities, who at the time were already looking for ways to silence localists -- and now this group of separatists.
As a result, Chan was banned from running in the 2016 polls because of his party's pro-independence stance.
|People still remember the 2003 protest against Article 23|
Senior Chinese leadership are becoming more impatient about Hong Kong still not enacting Article 23 of the Basic Law, which would criminalize acts of treason, secession, sedition or subversion against the central government.
The Hong Kong government had tried to introduce this legislation back in 2003, but some 500,000 people took to the streets in protest, and as a result successive governments have shelved the issue.
However, earlier this month, Lam said her administration would create favourable conditions for the legislation and lead a rational public debate on the issue, but didn't commit to a time frame.
Nevertheless, critics are sounding the alarm bells. Patrick Poon Kar-wai, Amnesty International's China researcher, said the move to ban the separatist party "would have a chilling effect". "The attempt to ban the Hong Kong National Party raises alarm bells as to what the government will look to curtail next in the name of national security," he said.
If the ban is enforced, aside from party members, anyone from the public who conducts activities under the party banner and helps with its operation, fundraising or assembly can also be prosecuted and face a maximum of one year in jail.
University of Hong Kong criminal law scholar Simon Young Ngai-man said the ban would have "knock-on" effects, such as allowing the police to conduct searches in places related to the party without a warrant.
It seems like the government is playing Goliath with Chan's David here. His party isn't even a legal political party and yet the authorities are doing everything it can to try to ban it.
Is it an overreaction? Considering not much as been heard from this party for a long time, the government's interest in it has put it back in the news and shining the spotlight on it again.
It would have been better to have let it die a slow death because most of the public didn't care for it. But now that there are fears freedom of speech are being curtailed, everyone is worried.