In brief

Hong Kong government outlaws pro-independence HKNP party

Ban takes place amidst increasingly hostile atmosphere against pro-sovereignty groups

Secretary of Security John Lee.
Secretary of Security John Lee. Author:
The government of Hong Kong has banned pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which was established in 2016. Hong Kong government secretary of Security John Lee said the party’s agenda was against the Basic Law of the semi-autonomous territory, as well as against Chinese “national security”. Lee further said the party disseminated hatred against Chinese Mainlanders and it was ready to “use force” to reach its goal.

Investigations against the party, at the request of Beijing authorities, began shortly after its establishment.

The ban on the party reflects an increasing pressure from the Chinese and Hong Kong governments against what what is known as the “localist movement” in the East Asian country, an umbrella term which brings together a diverse set of organizations, including pro-autonomy, pro-sovereignty and, as in the case of the HKNP, pro-independence groups.

Hong Kong’s democratization —only half of the Legislative Council’s seats are elected by universal suffrage— is one of the main priorities in the programs of all those groups. Localists fear that from 2047 onwards —when the term of the “One country, two systems” will end— Hong Kong will lose its current semi-autonomous status and will be completely absorbed by China.

Other milestones of repression

Another pro-sovereigty party, Demosisto, saw two of its leaders —one of them elected LegCo member Nathan Law— jailed for months after having taken part in 2014 pro-democracy demonstrations, and one of its members was prevented to stand as a candidate in a 2018 by-election. Another two elected LegCo members of the pro-sovereignty Youngspiration party were disqualified after an oath-taking controversy in which they displayed a banner that read “Hong Kong is not China”.