Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will implement China ruling on rebel lawmakers

November 7, 2016 12:50 pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (Photo by AFP)

Hong Kong’s leader says he would “fully implement” a ruling by the Chinese parliament, which effectively bars two newly-elected pro-independence lawmakers from the city’s local legislature after they deliberately misread their oaths of office.
During a swearing-in ceremony last month, the young lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung challenged ’s claim of sovereignty over the territory by pledging allegiance to what they described as the “Hong Kong nation.”
In a ruling on Monday, the National People’s Congress in Beijing adopted an interpretation of an article in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution on oath-taking, saying that the pair’s oaths are “invalid,” and that they must swear allegiance to Hong Kong as a Chinese city.
Following the ruling, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he and the city government would implement the interpretation in full.
“Any words or deeds that deliberately contravene (the interpretation’s) requirements, defy the prescribed oath-taking procedures, or even use the opportunity to insult the country and the Chinese people and advocate cessation, must be stopped in accordance with the law,” Leung said.
In its pronouncement earlier Monday, the Chinese legislature said that those wishing to hold public office must “sincerely and solemnly” declare allegiance to China.
It said talk of independence for Hong Kong is intended to “divide the country” and severely harms the country’s unity, territorial sovereignty and national security.

Newly-elected lawmaker Baggio Leung (C) of Youngspiration stands in front of the press in Hong Kong on November 7, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The ruling came a day after hundreds of separatist demonstrators clashed with police near China’s representative office in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.
Police used pepper spray to disperse the demonstrators as they attempted to approach the building.
Protesters chanted slogan against China, saying they will continue the fight for the independence of Hong Kong from Beijing.
China’s move to bar the two lawmakers is likely to spark further turmoil in the southern Chinese city.
The two lawmakers are members of the so-called Umbrella Movement that emerged after the 2014 Occupy protests failed to secure greater autonomy from the Chinese government.
The protests erupted after the Chinese government introduced an election law, under which the people of Hong Kong will have to elect their next leader from a list of Beijing-vetted candidates in 2017.
Hong Kong, a former British colony and a major global financial hub in Eastern , was handed over to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula. Under the Basic Law, the territory has since enjoyed wide-ranging autonomy, including judicial freedom.
Pro-independence activists are highly opposed to China’s interpretation of Hong Kong’s constitution, something that Beijing has done four times over the past years. They have warned that a fifth interpretation would deal a “lethal blow” to the city.
The interpretation says that those who advocate for independence for Hong Kong are not only disqualified from election and from assuming posts as lawmakers but should also be investigated for their legal obligations.
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