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Demosistō (/ˌdɛməˈsɪst/; Chinese: 香港眾志)[2] is a pro-democracy organisation advocating self-determination for Hong Kong initially established on 10 April 2016 as a political party. It is led by the former leaders of Scholarism, Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, along with former secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) Nathan Law, and Deputy Secretary-General Chris Kwok Hei Yiu. Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) were the two student activist groups which played an instrumental role in the 79-day occupy protests known as the Umbrella Revolution in 2014.[3] Secretary-general Joshua Wong is the leader of the organisation.

Demosistō

香港眾志
ChairpersonIvan Lam
Vice-ChairpersonIssac Cheng
Secretary-GeneralJoshua Wong
Founded10 April 2016
Preceded byScholarism
Membership (2017)25
IdeologyLocalism[1][unreliable source?]
Regional affiliationPro-democracy camp
Colours     Turquoise
Website
demosisto.hk
Demosistō
Traditional Chinese香港眾志
Simplified Chinese香港众志
Literal meaningHong Kong's popular will

Demosistō advocates a referendum to determine Hong Kong's sovereignty with the goal of obtaining autonomy[4] after 2047, when the One Country, Two Systems principle as promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law is supposed to expire. It won a seat in the 2016 Legislative Council election with its 23-year-old chairman Nathan Law becoming the youngest candidate ever to be elected.[3] In 2017, Law was disqualified from the Legislative Council over the oath-taking controversy and was imprisoned with Joshua Wong for the storming into the Civic Square during the Umbrella Revolution.

BeliefsEdit

The major missions of the group ′Demosistō′:

  • Self-determination: Demosistō aims to achieve ‘democratic self-determination’ in Hong Kong, and aspires to Hong Kong’s political & economic autonomy from what they term ‘the oppression of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and capitalist hegemony’;
  • Non-violent actions: Demosistō sees its democratic fight as non-violent actions, demonstrations, referenda, social discussions;
  • Development of civil society: Demosistō wants to encourage people of Hong Kong discuss their political views and the youth develop parties and civil movements;
  • Equality and justice, trust of people, multiplicity: Demosistō believes in Hong Kong people they are able to build Hong Kong as a City of multiplicity with the values of justice and equality.[4]
  • 'Battle' for democratic legislation to inspire civil movements: Ivan Lam, who succeeded Nathan Law in May 2018 as a chairman, said the group will prepare for 'battle' for democratic legislation in Hong Kong, meaning, for example, Article 23 in the Basic Law (a controversy bill in the Article 23 caused massive protests in 2003) or proposed Anthem bill about anthem of the People's Republic of China. The same time, May 2018, Demosistō changed their status from party to the group, when its candidates were banned on election in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.[5]

BackgroundEdit

The name is derived from the Greek "demos" ("δημο", meaning "people", from which the English word "democracy" is derived) and Latin "sisto" (meaning "to stand", from which English words such as "insist", "persist" and "resist" are derived). Literally translated as "people to stand" in English, it means "stand for democracy", or "stand for the people".[6] The Chinese name means "the will of the people".[2][7][8]

The idea of forming Demosistō was inspired by Taiwan's New Power Party which was formed by the Sunflower Movement leaders and fared well in the 2016 Taiwanese legislative election. In February 2016, core figures of the student activist group Scholarism – Joshua Wong, Oscar Lai and Agnes Chow – who played an instrumental role in the 2014 Hong Kong protests, announced their plan of forming a new political party with other Umbrella Movement leaders, including Nathan Law, former secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), to run in the September Legislative Council election.[9] Scholarism officially ceased functioning on 20 March 2016 as the group disallowed any party affiliation.[10]

HistoryEdit

FoundingEdit

The party was officially established on 10 April 2016 with former secretary-general of Hong Kong Federation of Students Nathan Law as chairman, former spokesman of Scholarism Oscar Lai as vice-chairman, former convenor as Joshua Wong as secretary-general and former core member Agnes Chow Ting as deputy secretary. Founding party members included Shu Kei, Dean of Film and Television at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts as party's executive committee member, teacher Ng Mei-lan and Hong Kong Unison's Fermi Wong Wai-fun as member of the Kowloon East team.[11]

The Company Registry and police have yet to allow them to register as a company or society, as the registry had asked Demosistō to explain if it adheres to the Basic Law in pushing for Hong Kong’s "self-determination" when the then-political party tried to register as a company. It was thus unable to set up its own bank account to raise funds as other parties and organisations did and had to rely instead on individual members' personal accounts.[12] Joshua Wong also accused HSBC of exercising "political censorship" in rejecting his request to open a joint savings account to handle the business of his political party.

2016 Legislative Council electionEdit

Demosistō initially planned to field chairman Nathan Law in Hong Kong Island and vice-chairman Oscar Lai in Kowloon East. In July 2016, Oscar Lai decided to drop his candidacy in Kowloon East due to the lack of funding. The mailings of the campaign pamphlets of chairman Nathan Law, who was running in Hong Kong Island, were also delayed as the Hongkong Post had to seek legal advice from the justice department regarding Law's pamphlets mentioning phrases such as "self-determination".[12] Law, 23, eventually became the youngest candidate ever to be elected to the Legislative Council after he received 50,818 votes, the second-highest among all candidates in the constituency.[13] Demosisto's electoral allies, environmentalist Eddie Chu and university lecturer Lau Siu-lai who ran with a similar platform of "self-determination" also won seats in New Territories West and Kowloon West.

In the Legislative Council, Demosistō and its allies joined the 27-strong pro-democracy caucus. In the 2017 Chief Executive election, the party and other radical democrats backed the League of Social Democrats legislator Leung Kwok-hung to run against the two former government officials Carrie Lam and John Tsang, who was backed by the mainstream pro-democrats.[14] Leung later dropped out after failing to grab enough signatures in a unofficial civil petition.[15]

Disqualifications and imprisonmentEdit

In July 2017, Nathan Law was ousted from the Legislative Council over their manners at the oath-taking ceremony at the inaugural meeting with three other pro-democracy legislators, Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Yiu Chung-yim, losing the party's only elected representation.[16] The controversy, triggered by two pro-independence legislators, Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration resulted in the unprecedented legal actions by the government against elected legislators and the controversial interpretation of the Basic Law of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) which led to the disqualification of the six legislators as a result.

In 17 August 2017, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, the chairman and the secretary-general of Demosistō, were imprisoned alongside former general secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students Alex Chow for their storming into the Civic Square which triggered the 79-day 2014 Hong Kong protests.[17]

Agnes Chow, core member of Demosistō, announced her candidacy for the seat left vacant by Nathan Law in the 2018 Hong Kong Island by-election. However, her candidacy was disqualified by the Electoral Affairs Commission of the basis that she "cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the relevant electoral laws, since advocating or promoting 'self-determination' is contrary to the content of the declaration that the law requires a candidate to make to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region]."[18]

Fund row and membership withdrawal of Derek LamEdit

In 9 November 2017, Demosistō released a statement about a funding investigation involving Derek Lam. While no funds were lost under Lam, it was determined that he had violated financial handling procedures. The party decided to remove Lam as a standing committee member, at the same time Lam request to withdraw from the party, and it was approved. Thus Lam has no more connection with the party from his withdrawal.[19]

LeadershipEdit

ChairpersonEdit

Vice-ChairpersonEdit

  • Oscar Lai, 2016–17
  • Tiffany Yuen, 2017–18
  • Issac Cheng, 2019–present

Secretaries-GeneralEdit

Deputy Secretaries-GeneralEdit

  • Agnes Chow, 2016–17
  • Kwok Hei-yiu, 2017–18
  • Chan Kok-hin, 2018–present

Performance in electionsEdit

Legislative Council electionsEdit

Election Number of
popular votes
% of
popular votes
GC
seats
FC
seats
Total seats +/− Position
2016 50,818  2.34  1 0
1 / 70
1  10th 

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 袁彌昌 (10 September 2016). "香港新左翼的崛起". "筆陣" section. Ming Pao (Opinion) (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International.
  2. ^ a b "黃之鋒周庭新政黨Demosistō 中文名曝光". Apple Daily. 6 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Joshua Wong's party named 'Demosisto'". Radio Television Hong Kong. 6 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b https://www.demosisto.hk/about?lang=en
  5. ^ Sum,, Lok-kei;; Chung,, Kimmy (6 June 2018). "Will shift from Hong Kong politics to social activism give Occupy poster boy Joshua Wong's Demosisto Party a new sense of purpose?". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 10 July 2019.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  6. ^ "Joshua Wong to launch new political party, Demosistō, Sunday". Ejnisight. 7 April 2016.
  7. ^ "黃之鋒新政黨英文名Demosistō 中文是「釘毛舌圖」?". HK01. 6 April 2016.
  8. ^ "新政黨Demosistō係咩意思? 黃之鋒教埋你點讀". Apple Daily. 6 April 2016.
  9. ^ "效法時代力量突圍 香港學運領袖擬組黨參政". Liberty Times. 17 February 2016.
  10. ^ "學民思潮宣布今天起停止運作 145萬捐款將撥予法援基金及新學生組織". Stand News. 20 March 2016.
  11. ^ "香港眾志成立 羅冠聰、舒琪、黎汶洛出選立會". Stand News. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  12. ^ a b Cheung, Tony (4 August 2016). "Undue caution? Joshua Wong blasts Hong Kong officials over hold-ups in Demosisto party registration and mailings".
  13. ^ "(HK elections) Nathan Law elected as youngest lawmaker; Ricky Wong falls short". The Standard. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  14. ^ "'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung enters chief executive race, urging allies not to vote for 'lesser evils'". South China Morning Post. 8 February 2017.
  15. ^ "【特首選戰】長毛宣佈不參選:2萬人撐證公民提名可行". Apple Daily. 25 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Four More Hong Kong Lawmakers Ousted in a Blow to Democratic Hopes". Time. 17 July 2017.
  17. ^ Siu, Jasmine (18 August 2017). "Joshua Wong and other jailed Hong Kong leaders see political careers halted". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow banned from Legco by-election". South China Morning Post. 27 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Demosisto sacks Derek Lam over funds row". RTHK. Retrieved 25 April 2018.

External linksEdit