District polls a de facto referendum, say pan-dems

The Convenor of the pro-democracy camp, Tanya Chan, has accused the government of using the arrests of seven pan-democratic lawmakers to drum up public anger ahead of the polls, so they can be cancelled. Describing the elections as a de facto referendum, she urged the public not to fall into, what she described as, a trap set by the Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

“We’ll say no to their plans,” she said. “I’m sure that all legislators, all candidates – as well as their supporters – from the democratic camp are trying their very best to make sure that the district council election is going to be held on time, on November 24.

“And it is a de facto referendum for all Hong Kong voters to cast their vote and say no to police brutality and say no to our unjust system.”

Earlier, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Patrick Nip said the arrests had nothing to do with the upcoming district council elections.

Nip said the government wouldn’t consider postponing, or stopping, the elections unless it really had to. He said this would only happen if it weren’t safe for people to vote or polling stations weren’t able to operate.

The seven lawmakers – Chu Hoi-dick, Ray Chan, Lam Cheuk-ting, Gary Fan, Au Nok-hin, Leung Yiu-chung and Kwok Ka-ki – were arrested in connection with chaotic scenes in Legco last May. At the time, both the pan-democratic and pro-government camps had claimed to have been holding the only legitimate meeting of the bills committee, while vetting the now-withdrawn Extradition Bill.

The lawmakers were arrested under Legco’s Powers and Privileges Ordinance, part of which covers the obstruction of lawmakers.

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