FCO statement on the Hong Kong National Party

Andy Chan founder of the Hong Kong National Party speaks at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong on Aug. 14 2018

Andy Chan founder of the Hong Kong National Party speaks at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong on Aug. 14 2018

It is the first time that the territory has banned a political party since it was returned to China from the UK.

"The Hong Kong National Party has a very clear agenda to achieve its goal of Hong Kong being made an independent republic".

Chan, the leader of the National Party, had no immediate comment on Monday.

More recent efforts to find ways of cracking down on the independence movement follows a warning a year ago from President Xi Jinping during a visit to the city that any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty crossed a "red line".

Weakening sentiment means Hong Kong home prices are set to decline over the next three months and then stagnate, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which cited a survey of professionals in the field. Police requested the ban in July under the Societies Ordinance, which allows groups to be prohibited in the interests of national security and public safety.

China's central government backed Monday's ban, with a spokesperson for the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office expressing "resolute support", the Xinhua news agency reported.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong's government issued an unprecedented ban against a pro-independence political party that it has called a risk to national security.

Mr Lee told reporters the two-year-old party was prepared to use "all methods" to forge independence, which posed a threat to national security.

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The move propelled its leader, Andy Chan, to prominence.

Maya Wang, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, said the ban sets a unsafe precedent. "It is totally inappropriate and unacceptable for any person to openly promote and advocate the independence of Hong Kong", a spokesman said. Those acting as an executive of, attending meetings of, paying money to, or giving any aid to an unlawful society may be fined HK$50,000 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Asked if HKNP members would be committing an offence if they form or join other groups, Lee also said that it would be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Societies Ordinance.

The party has also taken actual actions to implement its objectives, which include Chan's bid to run in the Legislative Council polls, propaganda through the press, "school infiltration", street booths, fundraising and seeking overseas collaboration with independence bodies.

The perception that Beijing is reneging on its promise of semi-autonomy and eroding Hong Kong's free elections and freedom of speech is helping fuel a rising generation of young activists calling for greater autonomy, if not outright independence. Leading independence activist Edward Leung was jailed for six years in June on rioting charges after clashes with police in 2016.

"I can not ignore the fact that the Hong Kong National Party has repeatedly advocated that it will use all means, including force, and also encourage its supporters to use force", he said, adding that even though the party had later on vocally opposed violence, the government remained unconvinced.

"If Hong Kong were to become truly democratic, Hong Kong sovereignty must rest with the people of Hong Kong".

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