One of Hong Kong’s Last Independent Politicians Loses Position
(Bloomberg) -- One of the last remaining independent members of Hong Kong’s legislature is losing his seat after a candidate vetting committee said he failed to uphold the former British colony’s mini-constitution, according to the city’s No. 2 official.
Legislative Council member Cheng Chung-tai is being removed immediately for failing to “genuinely uphold” Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Chief Secretary John Lee said at a press briefing Thursday. Cheng is also being barred from running in Hong Kong elections for five years, Lee added.
Lee said a newly established panel to vet people running for office deemed him unsuitable to be on a 1,500-person committee charged with selecting the city’s leader. The committee had approved 1,496 people and rejected two others, including Cheng, who was one of just two independent members remaining in the chamber after most of the Hong Kong pro-democracy opposition resigned last year.
“I just received notification from the election vetting committee that my qualifications are invalid, and I will immediately lose my qualifications to be a Legislative Council member,” Cheng wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.
In late May, Hong Kong’s legislature approved a broad overhaul of the city’s elections that was drafted by Beijing, a move that dramatically curtailed the opposition’s ability to participate in government. The move created the panel to vet candidates for elected office and ensure they are sufficiently patriotic to China.
All candidates must also be approved by national security officials in the Hong Kong police force to determine whether they can be trusted to uphold local laws and “respect” China’s ruling Communist Party.
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