|Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam wearing a protective mask speaks during a news conference following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hong Kong, China July 19, 2020. (Photo by= REUTERS/Joyce Zhou)|
[아시아뉴스통신=레악카나 기자] Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Friday (Jul 31) that elections for the city legislature will be postponed from Sep 6 due to a spike in coronavirus cases, dealing a major blow to the city's pro-democracy opposition. The new date has been set for Sep 5, 2021.
Lam said the decision was the hardest choice she had made in the last seven months, but said it was aimed at safeguarding people's health. The decision is supported by the central government, she added. Her announcement came after 12 pro-democracy candidates were disqualified from running for perceived subversive intentions and opposition to a sweeping new security law imposed by Beijing, prompting questions among many about whether the pandemic was the real reason for the delay.
"Postponing the September elections for a year is a cynical move to contain a political emergency, not a public health one," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. "This simply allows Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to deny Hong Kong people their right to choose their government."