What is the Hong Kong National Party?
The Economist explainsWhat is the Hong Kong National Party?
The government wants to ban it
The Economist explains
ALONG with terrorism and extremism, separatism rounds off âthe three evil forcesâ that Xi Jinping, Chinaâs president, frequently invokes in speeches and has vowed to stamp out. Regions with large ethnic-minority populations, such as Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, have long been regarded as breeding grounds for separatists. In recent years, however, Mr Xi has grown increasingly anxious about pro-independence sentiment in Hong Kong, a special administrative region where hardly any residents were calling for outright separation from China just five years ago.
The Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), founded in 2016, is the territoryâs first separatist political party. Its leader Andy Chan, a 28-year-old interior designer, describes himself as a democracy advocate. The failure of the pro-democracy âumbrella movementâ of 2014, itself triggered by a Chinese decision that candidates for the post of Hong Kongâs chief executive should be selected by a committee stacked with Communist Party supporters, convinced him that Hong Kongers will not get full democracy so long as their city is part of China. This is all the more galling given that China promised Hong Kong a âhigh degree of autonomyâ from 1997 until at least 2047 under the âone country, two systemsâ arrangement. To achieve real democracy, including direct elections of the chief executive and all members of the Legislative Council, Hong Kong will need first to throw off Chinaâs yoke, says Mr Chan.Get our daily newsletter
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What is the Hong Kong Na tional Party?
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HKNP is light on policy specifics. It has not announced a target date for independence, nor suggested a means of achieving it. Its website offers no concrete proposals for what a defence, economic or social policy might look like after independence. Most Hong Kongers reckon the party is advocating a course of action that is unrealistic. The party does not hold a single elected seat at any level. In fact, it is estimated to have just a few hundred members.
Still, that is enough to worry Chinaâs top brass, who fear that Mr Chanâs party could be the start of a bigger political movemen t. In July Hong Kongâs Security Bureau, almost certainly under instruction from its masters in Beijing, initiated proceedings to ban the party on grounds of ânational securityâ, among other vague charges. Mr Chan was given until 5pm on September 14th to explain to the bureau why his party should not be banned. Conveniently for the government, Mr Chan filed his supporting documents nearly four hours late owing to a last-minute mix-up (though he had considered the ban to be a foregone conclusion). Hong Kongâs security minister is likely to announce the verdict in the coming days. Mr Xi will not be waiting with bated breath.NextMoon Jae-inâs grand design for the Korean peninsulaSource: Google News Hong Kong | Netizen 24 Hong Kong