Real Hong Kong News
8th March, 2016
Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung: Considering Standing in Sept Election; JR in Progress
On 6th March, Hong Kong Indigenous (HKI) hosted an event on the rooftop of an industrial building to thank all the volunteers and supporters who helped its spokesperson Edward Leung’s election campaign.
Although Edward Leung Tin-kei, the 24 years old student in Hong Kong University major in philosophy, garnered 66,524 of the 432,581 votes cast beating four other political veterans (a total of seven candidates) running in the recent by-election on 28th February*, the result did not grant him a seat as the by-election was based on a first-past-the-post system.
Many regard the 66,000 votes for Edward Leung as a sign that localism movement in Hong Kong is becoming a mainstream political ideology. Although there are multiple strands of localism which often disagree with each other on issues (e.g. some support Hong Kong independence, some support Hong Kong city-state nation building, some believe in rewriting the Basic Law to ensure Hong Kong’s perpetuate autonomy, some advocate Hong Kong to be reunited with the UK as China has repeatedly breached the Joint Declaration), the latest by-election brought all of these strands together – as localists often say “unite for shared visions and goals, rather than share visions and goals for the sake of unity”.
Despite the defeat, the atmosphere at the event was overwhelming. Many congratulated HKI and Edward Leung for a successful campaign which brought localism to the next level – it is no longer a rejected minority of voice.
Supporters volunteered throughout the campaign day and night, from sticking labels onto election mails, peeling labels off the same election mails (as the Registration and Electoral Office banned Leung’s election materials), to setting up almost 24-hour street booths. Most of the supporters at the event are youngsters, with quite a few middle-aged and retirees having a blast with the younger generation.
In his speech, Leung stressed that the satisfactory result was entirely down to the help of all the volunteers. He thanked all of the volunteers and expressed his gratitude of more organised localist groups like Civic Passion and Proletariat Political Institute.
Various chants amongst the supporters stood out more than others, including the campaign slogan “the revolution of ages” and a relatively politically incorrect “Hong Kong nation building”. The crowd seemingly shared a boosted confidence by the election result, and are not frustrated by the defeat.
When asked if he would run for the upcoming Legislative Council election in September, Leung said that he has no concrete plan so far, but the majority of his supporters and the people in the New Territories East district he met during the post-election parades to thank the voters asked him to run again. However, he said the Ray Wong Toi-yeung, another spokesperson of HKI, who is also charged for instigating riot, will definitely not run because “he has no interest in standing in election”.
After Hong Kong Resurgence Order, Civic Passion and Proletariat Political Institute announced their intention to run in the September election on 29th February, many criticised the three organisations for “harvesting the fame of Edward Leung”. Commenting on such accusation, Leung said that “there is no such thing called ‘harvesting another’s achievement’ – I am very grateful for the significant support and assistance Youngspiration, Civic Passion and Proletariat Political Institute provided throughout my campaign”. “Of course we will discuss further about the September election. It is important to know, however, that it is good for Hongkongers to have more options. The votes belong to the voters, not any political parties. People vote for those whose political platforms and ideologies they agree with.”
When asked about his election mail being banned by the REO, Leung said that they are working on filing a Judicial Review. He stressed that it is not due to the unfair treatment HKI and himself faced, but for all localist groups who are interested in running in future elections as they may face the same suppression. “We were extremely careful when we crafted the manifesto, avoiding any ‘censored’ words – who would have known that ‘autonomy’, ‘self-governing’ and ‘self-sufficient (agricultural policy including the construction of desalination plants, which is one of the current government’s policy)’ can be regarded as a violation of the Basic Law! When ‘autonomy’ and ‘self-governing’, which are stipulated in the Basic Law, can be regarded as a violation (of the Basic Law), what freedom do we have? Should the governments (both China and HKSAR) simply announce that One-Country Two-Systems has come to an end?”
Leung said that his priority now is to focus on his study, but given the support he has received so far, he will consider running in the September election. Cooperation, negotiation and communications are important for all localists groups, according to Leung, and he will communicate with all localists groups to find a way to cooperate.
*Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu took the seat in the said election triggered by the resignation of Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a founding member of the party who supported the HKSAR Government’s electoral reform proposal