House Committee chairman also banned discussing legality of Legco presidential vote
By Joyce Ng
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s Legislative Council was still in a state of disarray on Friday, as a committee was convened behind locked doors to keep out localists whose oaths were rejected, and ended in a ban on discussions about the legality of the Legco presidential election.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, meanwhile, said he was “angry and disappointed” with the lawmakers who were rejected as their oaths seriously affected the relationship between mainlanders and Hongkongers.
“However evasive they were being, if they want to be legislators, they must have the commitment,” Leung said on Friday, referring to the requirement to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to China and Hong Kong. His remarks echoed a strongly worded statement his administration issued a day earlier.
Chaos reigned during the inaugural meeting of the newly elected Legco on Wednesday as two Youngspiration lawmakers had their oaths invalidated. They pronounced China as “Chee-na”, a variation of derogatory term “Shina” used by Japan during wartime, and displayed a banner saying “Hong Kong is not China”.
It ended with a disputed vote that saw pro-Beijing stalwart Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, who did not secure official proof that he had given up his British nationality until the day of the election, become the president.
During Friday’s House Committee meeting, three of the four doors of the meeting room were locked by Legco staff, and the only one that was open was heavily guarded. The measure was understood to prevent Youngspiration duo Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching from trying to enter as they did on Wednesday. The doors were unlocked only after a row, in which the democratic camp urged committee chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king to open them.
The pan-democrats then tried to bring the oath and election controversies back on the agenda, but were rejected.
“Secretary-general [Kenneth Chen Wei-on] ruled the [Youngspiration lawmakers’] oaths as invalid without consulting legal advice,” Lau Siu-lai, elected on her platform for self-determination, said. “It was an unjust decision and the subsequent meeting, in which the president was elected, was therefore unlawful.”
Lau also accused Chen of “breaching political neutrality” in wrongly advising the pan-democrat who chaired the proceedings of the election that he could not adjourn the meeting, even though Leung’s nationality remained unclear at that time.
But Lee stopped the debate. “I have decided that the House Committee is not an appropriate venue to review decisions made at the council,” the lawmaker of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said, ending the meeting.
Chen did not explain why he invalidated their oaths, only saying he would do that in writing.
Annoyed, pan-democratic lawmakers surrounded the chairwoman and argued with her to no avail. The camp’s convenor, James To Kun-sun, blasted Lee, saying she was “incapable” and unfamiliar with the meeting rules. “She made a serious error of judgment, if not of having a political bias, in suppressing a meaningful and lawful discussion.”
The camp would consider putting a vote of no confidence against Lee, he added.
Meanwhile, the pro-Beijing camp sent a petition to the Legco president asking him to also invalidate the oaths of Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Lau Siu-lai. Law had raised his tone while swearing allegiance to China, sounding like he was asking a question, while Lau paused for six seconds in between every word in order to, she said, make the oath meaningless.
Tags: Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Dennis Kwok, Hong Kong, Hong Kong's Legislative Council, Lau Siu-lai, legality of the Legco presidential election, Legislative Council, localists, Nathan Law, Refusal to swear allegiance to China, Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang, Starry Lee, swearing allegiance to China, Youngspiration