Hong Kong bans pro-independence political party | News | DW | 24.09.2018
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Hong Kong bans pro-independence political party

The party founded by independence activist Andy Chan is the first political party to be outlawed in the city's history. Police had sought a ban on the outfit in July, citing "national security" concerns.

The Hong Kong government on Monday banned a political party advocating independence from China, citing national security concerns.

The Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), founded by independence activist Andy Chan, is the first political party to be banned in Hong Kong since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Jeffie Lam, a journalist with the South China Morning Post newspaper, said on Twitter the decision by the city's security chief John Lee came just 10 days after Chan's party submitted a reply, arguing why it should not be outlawed.

Police had sought a ban on the political party in July, citing "national security" concerns.

Chan said he would not immediately comment on the decision.   

The Hong Kong National Party, which has only a few dozen members, was founded after the pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement" protests in 2014. 

Hong Kong has a separate political and legal system from China under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and enjoys a high degree of autonomy and more freedoms. Critics allege, however, that this special status is being eroded.

Read moreHong Kong's 20 years under Chinese rule – A failed project?

Calls for independence emerged after the 2014 protests that failed to pressure Beijing to allow full democracy in the city.

But the movement for freedom has not managed to make much headway in the face of the Hong Kong government's efforts to muzzle the pro-independence sentiment.

Leading independence activists, including Chan, have since been blocked from standing for office and others disqualified from the legislature. 

Independence activist Edward Leung was jailed for six years in June on rioting charges after clashes with police in 2016.

ap/msh (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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