Hong Kong bars pro-democracy candidates from election, signals intent to uphold new China law

UK suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong amid Chinese national security law

The British government suspended its extradition arrangements with Hong Kong due to controversial national security legislation imposed by Beijing on July 1.

Hong Kong disqualified at least 12 pro-democracy nominees from an upcoming election after the government said the candidates failed to pledge allegiance to both Hong Kong and Beijing.

Among those barred Thursday from the September legislative election are prominent pro-democracy activist Tiffany Yuen, incumbent lawmaker Dennis Kwok from the pro-democracy Civic Party, and Joshua Wong, an activist who topped the polls in an unofficial primary earlier this month.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on Congress to push back and hold officials accountable.

“The outrageous disqualification of 12 candidates for #HongKong LegCo elections in September shows the Chinese Communist Party's determination to remake the city in its image,” Rubio wrote on Twitter.

The decisions signal Hong Kong’s intent to enforce Beijing’s national security law that China’s legislature put into effect June 30 following increasingly violent pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The Hong Kong police recently arrested four youths, aged 16 to 21, on suspicion of inciting secession through an organization for Hong Kong independence on social media.

Pro-democracy activists Lee Cheuk-Yan, right, and Yeung Sum speak to media outside a district court in Hong Kong on Thursday. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Earlier this week, pro-democracy leader Benny Tai was removed from his tenured position as associate law professor at Hong Kong University in an 18-2 vote by the university’s governing council.

Tai has been out on bail since being sentenced to 16 months in prison in April 2019 for his part in a 2014 drive for universal suffrage known as the Umbrella Movement.

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While the election disqualifications are a marked setback for the pro-democracy group, Wong said that they will not give up.

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“However, in order to safeguard the city’s future, #HKers will not surrender,” Wong wrote. “Our resistance will continue on and we hope the world can stand with us in the upcoming uphill battle.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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