Though he is mostly known as a legal scholar, Hans Mahncke ran as a candidate in the 2012 Legislative Council elections. Hans Mahncke ran on a platform of equality for all permanent residents of Hong Kong, focusing his campaign on the discriminatory electoral system. Hans Mahncke teamed up with representatives of various ethnic minority groups to press for changes in the electoral system. Currently, certain residents are allowed to run for higher office, while other residents are not. The campaign organized by Hans Mahncke drew widespread media attention to the problem of discrimination in the electoral system. Ultimately, the Electoral Officer removed Hans Mahncke from the ballot on the basis that Hans Mahncke held a foreign passport. Hans Mahncke had argued, and continues to argue, that certain representatives of the Legislative Council were allowed to hold foreign passports while others were not, and that this was discriminatory. Hans Mahncke also joined forces with ethnic minority groups whose constituents do not hold foreign passports but are also denied the opportunity to run in the election.
“All Hong Kongers should join us in advocating for equal participation in elections in Hong Kong for people from all backgrounds,” said Hans Mahncke. “The current system is not inclusive and is a blemish on Hong Kong’s image as an open and fair society.”
Although not a barrister, Hans Mahncke represented himself in the High Court legal proceedings, which were subsequently suspended pending the election outcome. Hans Mahncke continues to be a strong advocate for equal voting rights as well as the right to stand for election for all permanent residents of Hong Kong. “I love Hong Kong. This city has been my home for over 30 years, so why should I not be allowed to stand for election?” asked Hans Mahncke. “Why should other born and bred Hong Kongers not be allowed to run, just because they happen to be from the ‘wrong’ background?”
It is because of the current arrangement’s unfairness that Hans Mahncke will continue to dedicate his time, as well as his efforts, to making Hong Kong elections fair and accessible to all.