Hong Kong’s decision to bar 12 pro-democracy candidates from standing for office sets a sweeping precedent and may signal the end of meaningful political opposition in the city.
The group disqualified from contesting upcoming elections to the city’s legislative council include the prominent student activist Joshua Wong but also moderates and four incumbents, such as Alvin Yeung, who represents Hong Kong’s accountants.
More radical candidates have been barred from running before, and others prevented from taking office after winning. But the latest rulings suggest authorities even want to eliminate tempered dissent from the halls of power. Many had been selected in primary elections that drew hundreds of thousands of voters.
“Clearly the Chinese Communist party decided to take this opportunity of the upcoming election to show Hong Kong people and the rest of the world that they have redesigned the whole game,” said Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, a political scientist at the Hong…