Democratic Party chairman Lo Kin-hei on Monday said he expects it will become increasingly difficult for any pro-democracy candidate to take part in any election for public office in Hong Kong in future, after a senior Beijing official said the central government will be spearheading electoral reform here to bar those who “oppose China and disrupt Hong Kong” from taking up positions of power.
“We can see that it is [tightening] the criteria to be nominated as a candidate in any form of elections. Of course that kind of further restriction would make the pro-democracy camp to get nominated more and more difficult. That is something I expect would happen in the future,” he said.
Lo said he believes Beijing is likely to announce their decision to change the city's electoral system during the National People's Congress annual meetings in March.
While Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Xia Baolong suggested that only "staunch patriots" will be eligible to take up public positions in future, Lo said he believes selecting candidates on the basis of their patriotism could be an entirely political and arbitrary exercise.
He added that there is a genuine risk that current pro-democracy district councilors – who will soon be required to take oaths of allegiance to the SAR and the Basic Law – may be disqualified.
“We have been quite pessimistic for quite a long time, at least for a few months already. That kind of pessimistic feeling among the pro-democracy camp is quite prevalent.”
Despite all the uncertainties, Lo said the pro-democracy camp would continue its work in the district councils and the community, while preparing for the Legco election scheduled for September.
“We have to just do our best in the things we are doing now,” he said.
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