[Explanation] The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government announced on July 31 that it has decided to postpone the 2020 Hong Kong Legislative Council elections for one year in response to the severe COVID-19 pandemic. In an exclusive interview with a reporter from China News Agency, the director of the Chinese Law Society and a Hong Kong practising barrister, Manguo said that the SAR government has made a correct and responsible decision and that the safety of voters’ lives is far more important than the need to exercise political rights.

  [Concurrent] Hong Kong Practicing Barrister Man Guo

  The safety of citizens and voters is far more important than his needs to exercise political rights. We can't just look at the gathering of people on election day. It also depends on the electors and candidates canvassing votes and home visits by the election team during the election process. This situation will further intensify the spread of the epidemic.

  [Explanation] The four-year Hong Kong Legislative Council general election is huge, involving 70 seats and up to 4.4 million registered voters. On the day of voting, 34,000 election staff will work at 615 polling stations, central counting stations and media centers. , There are a large number of people gathering and interpersonal interaction, posing a great risk of infection. The State of Marx and Engels emphasized that Hong Kong is not the only country and region in the world that postpones elections due to the epidemic.

  [Concurrent] Hong Kong Practicing Barrister Man Guo

  (Worldwide) 68 regions have postponed their elections because of the new crown epidemic, and 24 countries have postponed their national elections.

  [Explanation] On the evening of July 31, the White House issued a statement condemning the decision of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to postpone the Legislative Council elections as a weakening of democracy and freedom. He believes that due to the epidemic, many registered voters are stranded overseas and cannot return to Hong Kong to vote. The postponement of elections has strengthened democratic representativeness.

  [Concurrent] Hong Kong Practicing Barrister Man Guo

  The public's right to vote has not been deprived. It is wrong to say that the postponement of the election is political suppression. Because more people will become voters in a year, the election will be more representative. So I think that a one-year postponement of elections will not only harm democracy but also (strengthen) the meaning of democratic representation.

  [Explanation] Regarding the operation of the Hong Kong Legislative Council in the coming year, Manguo said that according to Article 69 of the Basic Law, the term of office of members is four years. Whether or not the term of office can be temporarily extended in an emergency is no longer a problem that the SAR government can solve.

  [Concurrent] Hong Kong Practicing Barrister Man Guo

  (Basic Law) Article 69 (Provisions) has a term of four years. Can it be extended because of the epidemic? The power to interpret Article 69 rests with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

  Reporter Li Yue let Baokui report from Hong Kong

Editor in charge: [Yu Xiao]