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Hong Kong Bars Pro-Democracy Candidate


FILE - Student activist Agnes Chow poses before her campaign to join the Legislative Council in the March election, at the Demosisto party office in Hong Kong, Dec. 8, 2017.

Hong Kong has barred a young activist from an upcoming election.

Agnes Chow, who is 21, is a member of the pro-democracy Demosisto political party.

She had hoped to become a candidate for the city's Legislative Council in the March election.

The government, however, took issue with Demosisto’s platform, which includes “self-determination” or independence for Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement: “Self-determination or changing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) system by referendum which includes the choice of independence is inconsistent with the constitutional and legal status of HKSAR.”

Chow said her disqualification was “political screening.” She added that the decision “to disqualify my candidacy means that the political rights are being handicapped.”

“The government’s motivation is to eliminate the hopes of an entire generation of young people,” Demosisto said in a statement.

Demosisto was co-founded by Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the “Umbrella Movement” that began when students stormed a courtyard on the grounds of the government’s headquarters in September 2014, demanding fully free elections in the semi-autonomous city.

As a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong enjoys numerous freedoms under the 1997 deal that handed the city back to China from British rule, many of those freedoms are not enjoyed on mainland China. Beijing has been tightening its grip on Hong Kong in recent years.

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