China

Hong Kong protest against candidate poll ban

Protesters march on 21 August 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protesters want courts to decide on who cannot run in the poll

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Hong Kong to march against "political censorship" in the run-up to Legislative Council elections.

Six candidates have been barred from running in the September poll for failing to prove they are no longer in favour of Hong Kong's independence.

Three of the rejected candidates joined the march to the offices of the chief executive, where police met them.

Beijing considers the former British territory an inseparable part of China.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protesters compared the elections to Iran's where most liberal candidates are barred

Jimmy Sham, head of the Civil Human Rights Front which organised the march, said the key issues protesters were highlighting were judicial independence, and the principle of political neutrality for civil servants, which includes the electoral returning officers.

A court, he said, should decide who is not allowed to run in the election, not the electoral affairs office.

The protest comes days after a court spared three student leaders who led mass rallies and sit-ins in 2014 from jail.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The arrest of the student leaders sparked a mass pro-democracy movement that occupied parts of Hong Kong for almost three months

Joshua Wong, who became the teenage face of the protests, was given 80 hours of community service for unlawful assembly.

Nathan Law was sentenced to 120 hours, while Alex Chow was given a three-week prison sentence suspended for a year.

The movement called on Beijing to allow fully free elections for the leader of the semi-autonomous territory. However, it failed to win any concessions on political reform.

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