Pro-independence lawmakers Baggio Leung (L) and Yau Wai-ching (R) speak to the press outside the High Court in Hong Kong, November 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Two pro-independence lawmakers in Hong Kong have lost their appeal against a ruling preventing them from taking up their seats in the parliament over anti-China
The Court of Appeal on Wednesday sided with the High Court’s decision two weeks ago that prevented Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching from being sworn in at the Chinese city’s Legislative Council.
The November 15 ruling had disqualified the newly-elected lawmakers for office, saying that the pair invalidated their oaths of office during a swearing-in ceremony in October after misreading the texts and using expletives that were meant against China.
“There can be no innocent explanation for what they uttered and did,” the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal said Wednesday. “What has been done was done deliberately and intentionally.”
China’s parliament has also objected to the conduct of the two lawmakers. The National People’s Congress in Beijing earlier adopted an interpretation of an article in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution on oath-taking, saying that the pair’s oaths were “invalid,” and that they must swear allegiance to Hong Kong as a Chinese city.
The interpretation says that those who advocate independence for Hong Kong are not only disqualified from election and from assuming posts as lawmakers but should also be investigated.
Independence activists have criticized China’s interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, as its constitution is known, saying China should respect the judicial independence of the territory under a 1997 deal with Britain, known as “One country, two systems.”
Hong Kong’s pro-China leader Leung Chun-ying has said his administration would be tough on activists pushing for independence from China.