Hong Kong: Candidate Tony Chan removed from September chief executive race

HONG KONG — Pro-establishment candidate Tony Chan Chun-chuen, who previously served as Hong Kong’s secretary for financial services and the treasury, and former lawmaker Jennifer Chow, a member of the New People’s Party, were disqualified from running in the chief executive election on Aug. 5, the government announced.

The government said Chan and Chow did not meet the legal requirements as candidates for the chief executive must “not be a person who has been adjudged by a court of law to have breached the laws of Hong Kong or any other place and has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of more than three months” or “be a person who has been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice in relation to an election anywhere.”

Election officials had earlier asked Chan and Chow to respond to allegations that they had violated election rules, and they were given until Monday to do so. Both responded by submitting signed declarations to the government stating that they had not violated any election laws.

Chan, in his response, wrote: “As long as I am not convicted of any crime, I am considered an innocent person.” He added that he was willing to accept the consequences of his actions if he is found to have violated any laws.

Chow, in her response, said she believed she had not violated any election laws. She added that she was willing to cooperate with the government’s investigation.

The two candidates were disqualified from running in the chief executive election after a three-person panel, led by former Hong Kong High Court judge Barnabas Fung Wah, ruled that they did not meet the legal requirements for the position.

The panel found that Chan had violated the law by failing to disclose his interest in a company that was awarded a government contract. The panel also found that Chow had violated the law by failing to disclose her relationship with a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Following the announcement of their disqualification, Chan and Chow said they would appeal the decision.

The chief executive election is scheduled to take place on Sept. 25. The remaining candidates are John Lee, the city’s former chief secretary; Regina Ip, a member of the Executive Council; and Alan Leong, a former chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

The chief executive is the head of government in Hong Kong. The position is elected by a 1,500-member Election Committee, which is dominated by pro-Beijing figures.

The disqualification of Chan and Chow is the latest in a series of moves by the Hong Kong government to crack down on dissent in the city. In recent months, the government has arrested several pro-democracy activists and journalists, and it has also banned several political parties.

The government’s actions have been condemned by human rights groups, who say they are a violation of the city’s freedoms. The United States has also criticized the government’s actions, saying they are undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Despite the government’s crackdown, there is still some opposition to its rule in Hong Kong. A recent poll found that 53% of Hong Kong residents believe that the government is doing a bad job of running the city.

It remains to be seen whether the government will be able to maintain its control over Hong Kong in the long term. However, the disqualification of Chan and Chow is a clear sign that the government is determined to crush any dissent in the city..

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