Hong Kong may ban pro-independence political party

Andy Chan Ho-tin is the co-funder of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which is targeted by the government as the party's pro-independent stance.

By Joon Kim

Hongkong-An ultimatum to stop all operations of a nationalist faction in Hong Kong “on grounds of national security” was announced in a social media page on late Tuesday. If enforced until early August, this could be the first such case since 1997 wherein Hong Kong’s government has acted based upon one of its ordinances.

The Hong Kong Nationalist Party(HKNP) released a series of photos and a long, disputed account on its official Facebook page in the midnight of July 17. Andy Chan Ho-tin(陳浩天), the leader of HKNP, received a letter from the Security Bureau about its “wishes” for the party’s cessation before August 7.

“For what is their ‘national security’, their ‘laws’, and their banning of operations but a purely political decision to silence those who dare to represent the true interests of the Hong Kong people and nation?” the post wrote.

Police came to Chan’s home earlier that day, giving himMore than 700 pages of documents, about the ban, and reminded him to respond to the secretary’s “order” before August. “They just handed down the documents and left,” Chan told Agence France-Presse.

Chan, according to the government had advocated Hong Kong independence on press conferences and internet radio programs, showing that the HKNP has planned to promote localism and separatism.

“In Hong Kong, we have freedom of association, but that right is not without restriction,” reportedly said Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security John Lee. He declined to clarify on the party’s “damages” to national security.

The Societies Ordinance is a colonial era law that allows the federal government to drop fee charges on party members and suspend operations of any political party. It has been offered with criticism since for being too overly restrictive.

A spokesperson for Great Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated that, while it “does not support Hong Kong independence,” it would continue to respect its “high degree of autonomy” and “way of life.”

“This is a chilling day for freedom of association and freedom expression in Hong Kong, with potentially far-reaching consequences,” said Patrick Poon, a researcher for Amnesty International.

“This is the beginning,” Chan told CNN. “The world better keep a close eye on this.”