An important voice in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, the liberal Civic Party, has disbanded. The reason is China’s crackdown on party members. According to ex-party leader Leong, nobody wanted to run for the board anymore.
One of Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy parties has dissolved. As Hong Kong media unanimously reported, the “Civic Party” decided to dissolve after a vote. Founding member and leader Alan Leong told reporters that 30 out of 31 members voted to dissolve the party – only one member abstained.
“Live in truth, believe in tomorrow”
Despite the dissolution, Leong expressed hope that “people have been adequately introduced to the concepts of accountability and transparent government.” “The world is constantly changing. History will tell,” Leong said. “We hope that the people of Hong Kong will face the day with hope and with hearts that are not too heavy. Live in truth and believe in tomorrow.”
The Civic Party, founded in 2006, was one of the most important democratic voices in Hong Kong. The “Civic Party” was considered moderate and was particularly popular among the middle class. The core demands of the “Civic Party” included the demand for the introduction of universal suffrage, the rule of law and civil liberties.
Nobody wanted to be on the board
“The fate of the party was already marked by the fact that no one stood for election as chairman or executive board,” Leong said. “Without a successor and in view of the tense financial situation, the voluntary dissolution of the party is no real surprise.”
Several party members have been arrested by authorities since Beijing enacted a controversial security law for Hong Kong in 2020 following ongoing protests and calls for more democracy.
The law is used by the government to take massive action against the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. A number of clubs, media and parties critical of Beijing have had to shut down in the last three years. After the crackdown on pro-democracy mass protests in 2019, the opposition in China’s special administrative region has been severely weakened. The Beijing central government was able to expand its influence.
Autonomy has become a myth
She also introduced a stricter electoral system in Hong Kong two years ago, thereby reinforcing the requirements from Beijing. As a result, the number of directly elected members of parliament in Hong Kong was significantly reduced and the selection of candidates tightened.
The former British colony of Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997. At that time, the special administrative zone was actually promised extensive autonomy and freedoms such as freedom of the press, opinion and assembly for 50 years.
With information from Eva Lamby-Schmitt, ARD Studio Shanghai