Press release

Hong Kong: Disqualification of Joshua Wong from Elections Further Undermines Rights

The disqualification of Joshua Wong from the November district council elections in Hong Kong undermines democracy. 

Washington

In response to a government electoral commission’s decision to disqualify Joshua Wong from the November district council elections in Hong Kong, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The decision to bar Joshua Wong from competing in district council elections over his calls for self-determination—an internationally recognized right—is another blow to democratic principles in Hong Kong,” said Sarah Cook, senior research analyst at Freedom House. “At a time when the Hong Kong government should be working to build bridges with prodemocracy leaders, this decision fuels concerns about Beijing’s growing interference in Hong Kong’s affairs and diminishes confidence in the rule of law. Rather than addressing the legitimate grievances of protesters, the ban on Mr. Wong will only intensify polarization and accelerate Hong Kong’s democratic decline.”

Background:

Joshua Wong, a prominent prodemocracy advocate and politician from Hong Kong, is the only candidate who has been disqualified from the November 24, 2019 district council elections. He has been arrested twice this year for his involvement in the ongoing protests and was a leader of the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

Freedom House has tracked increasing interference by the Chinese government in Hong Kong’s local affairs. Democracy advocates view the disqualification of candidates critical of the Beijing and Hong Kong governments in recent years as a deliberate effort to prevent prodemocracy candidates from winning and further evidence of Beijing’s growing infringement on Hong Kong’s autonomy, which is supposed to be protected by law.

Hong Kong is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2019.