Almost all participating members of the Civic Party voted in favor of the move at a special party meeting. Since the pro-democracy mass protests of 2019, half a dozen senior party members have been prosecuted for taking part in protests and trying to raise funds for the demonstrations.
The group, also known as the Lawyers’ Party, was founded in 2006 in the Chinese special administrative region, primarily by leading lawyers. Its aim was to promote democratization and civil society in Hong Kong.
Among the core demands of the Civic Party were calls for the introduction of universal suffrage, the rule of law and civil liberties. Alongside the “Democratic Party”, the Civic Party was the most important democratic force in the financial metropolis. She was considered moderate and was particularly popular among Hong Kong’s middle class.
Late consequence of the “Security Law”
The Civic Party was one of the few remaining opposition groups. Several party members have been jailed since China’s leadership enacted a controversial so-called security law for Hong Kong in 2020, following ongoing protests and calls for more democracy.
The law is used by the government to take massive action against the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Many pro-democracy politicians and activists in the former British Crown Colony went underground or were driven into exile. A number of clubs, media and parties critical of Beijing have had to shut down in the past three years.
“Once all procedures are complete, the Civic Party will disappear from the face of the earth,” said Chairman Alan Leong. However, despite the dissolution, he expressed hope that “people have been properly introduced to the concepts of accountability and transparent government”.
The party’s 65-year-old co-founder is the only candidate to run for Hong Kong’s chief executive election without Beijing’s backing. As expected, however, Leong lost in the 2007 election.
Former founding member Albert Lai told AFP the failure “doesn’t mean the movement was meaningless”. Many people have been mobilized and “social capital” accumulated, which could be of importance for the “next chapter of Hong Kong”.
kle/uh (afp, kna, dpa)