Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers claim the right of “democratic self-determination” — “Hong Kong is not a part of China” — Refuse to pledge allegiance to China

October 12 at 1:55 AM
HONG KONG — Newly elected Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers have thumbed their noses at Beijing at a swearing-in ceremony to start the legislative session.
They displayed flags declaring that Hong Kong is not a part of China and called out for “democratic self-determination” for the semiautonomous Chinese city at Wednesday’s oath taking session.
The antics foreshadow what’s expected to be a chaotic term for Hong Kong’s legislature after a group of grassroots activists were elected in September, adding to the opposition’s numbers in the semi-democratic Legislative Council.
One lawmaker recited the oath very slowly while others mispronounced the word China.Some lawmakers who tried to modify the oath were admonished by the clerk, who refused to swear in three because they changed the wording.
 A banner at Chinese University in Hong Kong proclaiming Hong Kong’s independence, October 2, 2016. Photo: Facebook
Three Hong Kong lawmakers get oaths rejected in lively opening session


Edward Yiu Chung-yim, Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching each inserted words of defiance, with two Youngspiration legislators referring to ‘the people’s re-f****** of Chee-na’

By Joyce NgStuart LauTony Cheung, and Owen Fung
South China Morning Post

Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 2:25 p.m.

1.46pm – More shots at the presumed future Legco president

Before the Legco meeting resumed, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick remained on the stage, demanding Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen produce a “certificate of renunciation” of his British nationality, instead of just two cover letters from the UK Home Office informing Leung that the certificate had been registered.

“I won’t leave here until Leung shows it,” Chu said. “Because this is the last chance we can ask him to come clean.”

 The Legco chamber on Wednesday as Lau Siu-lai took her oath of office. Photo: Dickson Lee

Chu was flanked by “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai, Claudia Mo Man-ching, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung.

For 30 minutes, Chu spoke without interruption, and Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen remained silent in his seat, then left the chamber as Chu finished.

The Legco secretariat has been soliciting legal advice as to the validity of the oaths of the three lawmakers Edward Yiu Chung-yim, Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching.

12.40pm – ‘It’s my Ap Lei Chau accent’

The two Youngspiration legislators defended their pronunciation of China as “Chee-na”.

“It’s my Ap Lei Chau accent,” Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang said.

The localist also stressed he had done nothing wrong by carrying a banner reading “Hong Kong is not China” while reading his oath.

“What I wear is none of [Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen’s] business,” he said.

12.33pm – The pro-Beijing camp’s take

As the oath-taking ceremony concluded, pro-Beijing legislators condemned several localist legislators for departing from the official language of the swearing-in process.

Lawmaker and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong’s chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king said the party would seek legal advice on whether any follow-up action could be pursued against those who altered their oath.

Business and Professionals Alliance legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on had been tolerant.

 Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on(third from left, facing right) surrounded by lawmakers on Wednesday. Photo: Sam Tsang

Referring to the two Youngspiration legislators who pronounced China as ‘Chee-na’, Leung said: “I hope when they take their oath again, they will not pronounce China in a way that insults Chinese. We cannot accept this.”

12.30pm – Nathan Law raises questions

Nathan Law Kwun-chung made a short speech preceding his oath. “The word ‘affirmation’ originates from Latin, meaning ‘making it stronger’,” the former Occupy movement student leader said in his preamble. “But the sacred ritual of oath-taking today has been reduced to a tool by the regime to suppress people.”

“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind,” he said.

I uphold… the People’s Republic of China? I swear allegiance to… the People’s Republic of China?

As he proceeded with his oath and came to the word “republic”, he changed the intonation of his voice, as if asking a question. “I uphold… the People’s Republic of China? I swear allegiance to… the People’s Republic of China?”

The youngest lawmaker of the newly convened body then asked Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on why he was qualified to reject three localists’ oaths, referring to Edward Yiu Chung-yim, Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching.

“Which Legco rule says you have the power to stop them joining the presidential election?” Law asked. Lawmakers whose oaths are rejected are ineligible to vote for Legco president.

Chen asked him to return to his seat, and Law’s allies Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Lau Siu-lai called out to support Law. They raised again the nationality issue of Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, who is poised to be the president.

Chen called for a break.

 Nathan Law Kwun-chung, with Eddie Chu Hoi-dick. Photo: Sam Tsang

12.25pm – Another call for universal suffrage

Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu said at his swearing in: “Hong Kong is the home ground of Hongkongers. Let’s not forget how we began. I want genuine universal suffrage! Go for it Hongkongers!”

 Cheng Chung-tai taking his oath. Photo: Sam Tsang

12.24pm – A localist explains his motives

Civic Passion lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai delivered a speech at the beginning of his oath explaining why he would take his oath properly.

I don’t think the way I take the oath today would amount to any effective resistance

“In the past few years, our protest for the future of Hong Kong has led us to the streets for 79 days,” he said, referring to the Occupy movement of 2014. “Some youngsters even gave up their future on the first day of the Lunar New Year for Hong Kong,” he said, referring to the Mong Kong riotearlier this year.

“I don’t think the way I take the oath today would amount to any effective resistance,” he said. “I believe everyone will understand.”

The localist legislator then read the oath out in full, and, at the end stated: “Rewrite the constitution by the people… Long live Hong Kong.”

12.12pm – Youngspiration lawmakers’ oaths rejected

Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on held that the oath by two Youngspiration lawmakers were invalid as they wore or presented attire bearing the words: “Hong Kong is not China”.

Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching began their oath by swearing allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” and staing they would “preserve, protect and defend” their fellow Hongkongers.


When they read out the official portion of the oath, they pronounced China as ‘Chee-na’, the derogatory pronunciation used during Japanese occupation of the city.

When Chen interrupted Leung to call his attention to his improper oath, Leung waved his hand and said he had not finished.

 Yau Wai-ching after her oath, which was rejected. Photo: Dickson Lee

After Leung and Yau finished, Chen said he would be unable to attest to their oaths, citing the slogan “Hong Kong is not China”.

“Your display gives me reason to doubt whether you understand your duties as lawmakers,” Chen said.

Yau Wai-ching’s exchange with Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on

Youngspiration’s Yau Wai-ching was heard mispronouncing the phrase “People’s Republic of China” three times during her oath.

 Yau Wai-ching draping a banner stating ‘Hong Kong is not China’ during her swearing in. Photo: Dickson Lee

Yau Wai-ching: “I, Yau Wai-ching, do solemnly swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Hong Kong nation, and will to the best of my ability preserve protect and defend the fellows of Hong Kong.”

I will uphold the basic law of the Hong Kong special administrative region of the people’s re- f****** of Chee-na

Chen: “Councillor Yau Wai-ching, you changed the wording of the oath. I cannot oversee the oath-taking for you, please take the oath again according to the wordings stated in the law.”

Yau: “I understand. You don’t need to repeat”, she said as she draped a banner bearing the phrase “Hong Kong is not China” on the table before her.

Yau: “I (more loudly than before), Yau Wai-ching, solemnly, sincerely and truly declare that and affirm that being a member of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong special administrative region of the people’s re-f****** of Chee-na, I will uphold the basic law of the Hong Kong special administrative region of the people’s re- f****** of Chee-na, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong special administrative region of the people’s re- f****** of Chee-na, and serve the Hong Kong special administrative region conscientiously, dutifully and in full accordance with the law honestly and with integrity.”

Chen: “Councillor Yau, your display gives me reason to doubt whether you understand your duties. I don’t have the power to oversee your oath-taking.”

11.59am – How slow can you go?

New lawmaker localist Lau Siu-lai added a 40-second opening remark before taking her oath with extreme slowness, promising that she would carry on with “the spirit of the umbrella movement [of 2014], which is to determine our own fate”.

We must live in truth and integrity, and break the coldness and timidity of our society

“I will walk with Hongkongers, link up the inside and the outside of the legislature, and resist the autocratic regime,” she said. “We must live in truth and integrity, and break the coldness and timidity of our society. We must also seek hope in the dark, and open the path of democratic self-determination. We must topple the high wall, and determine for ourselves and strengthen ourselves.”

Lau spent eight minutes delivering her oath, pausing five to seven seconds between every word.

As she dragged on, pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu called out, describing her approach as “stupid”.

When Lau finally finished and went on to vow to protect retirement, the secretary general cut her off and called on the next councillor for oath-taking.

 Lau Siu-lai during her oath. Photo: Dickson Lee

11.55am – First oath rejected

Non-affiliated lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim, representing the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector, is the first to have his oath rejected by Legco’s secretary general Kenneth Chen Wai-on.

 Edward Yiu Chung-yim taking his oath, which was rejected. Photo: Sam Tsang

After stating “being a member of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”, Yiu added: “I will uphold procedural justice in Hong Kong, fight for genuine universal suffrage, and serve the city’s sustainable development” before he moved on to swear to uphold the Basic Law.

After Chen asked him to swear in again without inserting his own phrases, Yiu took his oath again, but again added his phrases at the end of the official language.

Chen then asked Yiu to return to his seat, meaning he could not take part in the Legco presidential election later in the afternoon. According to Legco rules, Yiu must takes his oath again next week.

11.55am – Echoes of Occupy

Social welfare sector lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun struck a tambourine he was carrying several times at the end of his oath. He then stated the spirit of the umbrella movement had continued.

“We are back,” Shiu said, holding up his fist. Some in the pan-democratic camp tap on their desks to show solidarity with his statement.

11.51am – Step down, CY Leung!

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, a former ICAC investigator, said after taking his oath: “Crack down on corruption! Wolf Leung, step down!” The reference to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying led the city’s leader to issue a legal letter againstApple Daily, saying such labels violated his constitutional right to seek re-election.

11.47am – Eddie Chu against Andrew Leung

Independent lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who has been querying Legco presidential hopeful Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen’s British nationality issue, declares this after taking his oath: “Democratic self-determination! Tyranny must perish one day! Objection to Leung Kwan-yuen’s presidency!”

11.37am – Helena Wong calls for water testing

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan, who exposed a lead-in-water scandal at local public housing estates last year, calls out after finishing her oath:

“Scrap the 8.31 [a reference to Beijing’s white paper issued on August 31, 2014, determining the framework in which the city’s chief executive was to be elected]! Down with CY Leung! Water Supplies Department must test water immediately! No delay!”

 Claudia Mo Man-ching taking her oath. Photo: Dickson Lee

11.21am – Raymond Chan’s declaration

Before taking his oath, People Power lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen tore apart the government’s statement on oath-taking issued yesterday. He declared the government had no right to intervene in Legco’s affairs.

He then read his oath, and, before he walked away, he shouted: “I am a Hongkonger and I want genuine universal suffrage. Filibuster against evil laws; confrontation for public good. Down with Leung Chun-ying!”

 Outside Legco in Tamar on Wednesday, a pro-democracy protester (left) and pro-government protesters (right) exchange words. Photo: Edmond So

11.17am – Long Hair drama

The first oath-taking fireworks: “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, holding a yellow umbrella – a symbol of the pro-democracy Occupy movement of 2014 – shouts, “Civil disobedience! People determine their own future! We need no approval from Chinese Communist Party!”

 A defiant “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung at his oath-taking on Wednesday. Photo: Sam Tsang

He reads out the oath word for word, only splitting the phrases up so that he swore allegiance to “Hong Kong… SAR” and to “the People….’s Republic of China”.

At the end of the oath he chants: “Scrap NPC 8.31! I want double universal suffrage,” referring to the stringent reform framework decreed by the National People’s Congress last year. He then rips up a prop Basic Law.

11.16am – Regina Ip takes her oath

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee was the 14th lawmaker to take an oath. She was tipped to run in the chief executive election next year, but in a recent opinion poll, she was ranked the second-most unpopular candidate – slightly more popular than the incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

 Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee taking her oath. Photo: Sam Tsang

11.10am – Doubts about favourite for Legco presidency

Newly elected lawmaker and leading vote-getter Eddie Chu Hoi-dick cast doubt over Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen’s suitability as president, citing a lack of clarity as to whether he still had the right to reside in the UK

In a letter dated October 11, the Home Office informed Leung that “the renunciation of British nationality affects a person’s right to live in the UK”.

“’Affects’ is an unclear word,” Chu said, appearing with fellow localist lawmakers Lau Siu-lai and Nathan Law Kwun-chung. “We will raise questions on this point and we hope our questioning will not be stopped.”

11.05am – Veteran lawmakers sworn in

The five most senior lawmakers took their oaths without incident: James To Kun-sun, Leung Yiu-chung, Abraham Razack, Tommy Cheung Yu-Yan and Joseph Lee Kok-long.

As Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen comes forward, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, holding a yellow umbrella at his seat, shouts “foreign national!”.

10.50am – A nationality renounced

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, the Business and Professionals Alliance lawmaker vying to be Legco president, showed fellow lawmakers documents stating he had applied to renounce his British nationality.

 Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen taking his oath. Photo: Sam Tsang

New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a former security minister, said the documents were satisfactory, adding the Home Office’s certificate of his renunciation was “on the way”.

“I think Mr Leung has completed renunciation formalities,” she said. “His application for renunciation has been accepted … and registered.”

Arriving in chambers, Leung did not comment on his nationality issue, saying only that: “I hope to have [the lawmakers’] support.”

10.15am – This member’s got wheels

Pilot-turned-lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho rode in on his motor bike. The Civic Party’s new star said he rode in on two motorised wheels “not just to be cool, but also to show my determination to deal with the city’s complex transport issues with my expertise”. He is a charter member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

 Jeremy Tam on his bike arriving at Legco in Tamar on Wednesday. Photo: Joyce Ng

To make time for his lawmaking duties, Tam has left his pilot role and become a member of the crew management team at his company.

As the city’s 70 newly elected lawmakers swear in one by one at the sixth session of the Legislative Council from 11am today, government officials will be watching anxiously like never before.

The oath-taking ceremony is touching a nerve this year because six localists calling for Hong Kong’s self-determination were elected to the city’s legislature. Two have talked of plans to work their pro-independence calls into the wording of the official oath, which requires them to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to Hong Kong as a special administrative region of China.

To avoid turning the occasion into a platform for separatist calls, the government warned yesterday that those who refused to take their oath properly could lose their seats.

In the past, some lawmakers, like “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, managed to pass muster by reading out the oath word for word while adding their own slogans before and after the oath.

After the oath-taking ceremony, the Legislative Council is to elect a new president. The candidates are Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, a functional-constituency member who has returned to Legco four times uncontested, and the Democratic Party’s “super-seat” councillor James To Kun-sun.

Although Leung has been blasted by many including his allies for a purportedly high-handed style, he is poised to win the post due to support from the pro-establishment camp, whose members predominate the chamber.



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One Response to “Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers claim the right of “democratic self-determination” — “Hong Kong is not a part of China” — Refuse to pledge allegiance to China”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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