Pro-democracy candidates barred from Hong Kong election

A total of 12 people had been disqulified on the grounds that they would not uphold the Basic Law

Joshua Wong and a group of fellow pro-democracy activists were disqualified from Hong Kong's upcoming 2020 Legislative Council elections on Thursday, the Hong Kong government confirmed in a statement.

In the statement, the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) Government said it "agrees with and supports the decisions of returning officers to invalidate 12 nominees for this year's Legislative Council (LegCo) general election."

At least 11 other opposition candidates have also been disqualified, the HKSAR confirmed, with Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK claiming the number could be higher. However, that has not been confirmed independently.

Earlier, Wong posted a letter he had received on Twitter notifying him of the decision.

The prominent activist gained more than 30,000 votes during the recent democratic primaries organized by Power of Democracy.

Others disqualified reportedly include Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki und Alvin Leung from the Civic Party, and Lester Shum.

Wong and his allies have been criticised by the government and accused of potential subversion under the new national security law which targets secession, terrorism, acts of subversion and foreign collusion.

Without giving names of those disqualified, the statement justified the decision by referring to the requirement for candidates not only to "pledge alliegance to the HSKAR" and "uphold the [Basic Law]" but "also an intention to support, promote, and embrace it."

"There is no question of any political censorship, restriction of the freedom of speech or deprivation of the right to stand for elections," the statement said.

Earlier in the week, local media citing political sources said that the government were preparing to postpone the 2020 LegCo elections, as the city fights a fresh wave of coronavirus cases. A daily record number of 149 new cases were recorded on Thursday, bringing Hong Kong's total caseload 3,152.

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