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Leader Of Hong Kong Pro-Independence Party Requests More Time To Respond To Government Ban Threat

On July 16 the Hong Kong police notified Andy Chan Ho-tin (陳浩天), the founder and leader of the Hong Kong National Party (香港民族黨, HKNP), that his party might be banned for threatening China's "national security." 

Hong Kong Secretary of Security John Lee Ka-chiu (李家超) said at a press conference that any Hong Kong-based society may be banned in order to protect national security and public order, or to protect the rights and freedoms of others. Protecting national security means safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the People's Republic of China, he added. 

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Andy Chan was given 21 days to submit a written reply to the Secretary of Security, explaining why the HKNP should not be outlawed. 

On July 26 Mr. Chan told Hong Kong-based newspaper HK01 that the previous day he had sent a letter to the Security Bureau (保安局) requesting to be given 2 months, instead of only 21 days, to respond to the government. 

He pointed out that it was unfair that he had only 21 days to make his case while the police had investigated him for 2 years. He said that it was difficult to predict whether the government would comply with his request, but that he at the present stage was not considering disbanding the party. 

Mr. Chan  hinted at the possibility that his party might go underground if the government decided to ban it.

Before leaving for an official visit to Beijing on July 25, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, was asked by reporters about the government's handling of the HKNP's case. 

Lam said that the stance of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) regarding any pro-independence standpoint is "firm and absolutely unambiguous." 

She emphasized the authorities' commitment to implementing the "one country, two systems" framework, to safeguarding China's national security and territorial integrity, adding that "any action promoting Hong Kong independence will be suppressed (會受到壓制)."

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