What is the purpose of this survey?
The implementation of the National Security Law in June 2020 has led to a significant backslide and deterioration of democracy, rule of law and the guarantee of civil and political rights in Hong Kong. On December 19th, 2021, the Hong Kong legislative elections will take place in a climate that is anything but democratic. Following opposition leaders’ arrests and the dismantlement of civil society groups and media, changes that will only allow government-approved “patriots” to hold office, and the fact that voters will only choose 20 of 90 legislators, many are calling for a boycott of the elections.
It is clear that the upcoming elections will be a sham – Hong Kongers can no longer express their voice or votes inside the city, and have no representation outside. This must change.
One potential campaign idea which has been discussed within the Atlas community is the establishment of a Hong Kong Democratic Government in Exile to represent Hong Kongers and their interest in front of the international community. As part of this campaign, we will aim to target and petition the UK Parliament to support the establishment of the Government in Exile (through, for example, formal recognition, an “Embassy” type building, and financial support) and to protect Hong Kong’s freedom and rights in fulfilment of its legal and moral obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The purpose of this survey is to gauge: (1) whether there is a demand for a Democratic Government in Exile; (2) who you believe the Government should represent; (3) what you believe the purpose and function of such a Government should be (if materialized); (4) how prospective leadership should be elected; and (5) any key concerns.
What is a Government in Exile?
A Government in Exile (GIE) is a political group which asserts itself as a country or semi-sovereign state’s legitimate government, but which is unable to exercise legal power and instead resides in another state or foreign country. Under international law, GIEs may undertake various actions in the conduct of their daily affairs, including for example, creating or amending its own constitution, issuing identity cards, allowing the formation of new political parties, holding elections etc.
The effectiveness of a Government in Exile has historically depended on the amount of support it receives, either from foreign governments or from the population of its own country. Some exiled governments take on a more substantive role and become formidable forces; others are maintained chiefly as a symbolic gesture.