By Joyce Lim
Hong Kong Correspondent
The Straits Times
Holding over 25% of the votes, they aim to stop Beijing’s preferred candidate Carrie Lam
Beijing had pre-empted the court by issuing its own controversial ruling aimed at blocking the pair from getting a second chance at taking their oaths.
Beijing’s intervention raised concerns over the integrity of the “one country, two systems” blueprint under which the former British colony had retained its own legal, social and economic institutions upon being handed over to Chinese rule in 1997,
In taking their oaths last month, Leung, 30, and Yau, 25, had also displayed a flag that said “Hong Kong is Not China” and used an archaic derogatory Japanese term for China, actions seen as deeply insulting and unpatriotic by the central government in Beijing.
It was not clear when the High Court will rule on the appeal.
Hong Kong — Sixtus (Baggio) Leung and Yau Wai-ching talk to CNN
Hong Kong’s Pro-Independence Lawmakers Are Outcasts, China Says — But They Have Not Given Up
Updated 12:00 AM ET, Tue November 22, 2016
Hong Kong (CNN) Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung would be forgiven for feeling a little shell shocked.
The Globe and Mail
The mainland Chinese government in Beijing has intervened more openly than ever before in the governance of Hong Kong. The Chinese National People’s Congress – Beijing’s parliament – pronounced on Monday that all members of Hong Kong’s legislative council must “swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administration Region of the People’s Republic of China,” and that none of them could even advocate independence for Hong Kong – something that could hardly be imagined in, say, Canada.
This was a remarkably heavy-handed response to two young politicians who recently won election to the island’s legislative council. When taking an oath before occupying their seats, Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yao Wai-ching made satirical references to China and swore allegiance to “the Hong Kong nation.”
So far, the two are being paid their salaries and working in their offices, but a pro-Beijing group in Hong Kong says they have “darkness and dirt in their hearts.” The whole matter is before the Hong Kong courts.
It’s not a good sign for Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” principle. In 1997, after many years, Britain returned Hong Kong to China. The agreement said the island would have a distinct system, with the rule of law and liberal commerce. But the electoral system is only partly democratic, because of so-called “functional” constituencies. Now, there is further cause to worry about Hong Kong’s relative political freedom. Two other so-called “localist” legislators are being looked at askance by the authorities, one for allegedly raising eyebrows at the swearing-in, another for pausing between words. Such pettiness has more than a tinge of totalitarianism.
Tue Nov 8, 2016 | 6:05am EST
Hundreds of Hong Kong lawyers dressed in black marched through the heart of the city in silence on Tuesday to condemn a move by China that effectively bars two elected pro-independence lawmakers from taking their seats in the legislature.
The former British colony returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement that ensured its freedoms, including a separate legal system. But Beijing has ultimate control and some Hong Kong people are concerned it is increasingly interfering to head off dissent.
Local and foreign lawyers walked from the High Court to the Court of Final Appeal, underscoring growing concern among Hong Kong’s legal elite with how Beijing has handled affairs in the “special administrative region” of Communist Party-ruled China.
The demonstration follows a decision by China’s parliament to interpret Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, or Basic Law, to effectively bar the independence lawmakers from taking their oaths of office.
“We want to express that interpretation is not the norm of the Hong Kong legal system,” said legislator and barrister Dennis Kwok, who organized the rally. “We will not accept interpretation becoming the norm.”
As the lawyers marched, about a dozen pro-Beijing protesters taunted them, some shouting obscenities through loudspeakers. One Beijing loyalist held up a placard that read: “Rioters mess up Hong Kong.”
Beijing’s ruling on Monday that oaths for Hong Kong lawmakers must be taken accurately, sincerely and solemnly for them to be valid, just as a local judicial review of the case was under way, rattled many in the legal profession, political circles and beyond.
The High Court is set to decide if pro-independence lawmakers Baggio Leung, 30, and Yau Wai-Ching, 25, may be disqualified after they displayed a “Hong Kong is not China” banner during a swearing-in ceremony in October which resulted in their oaths being invalidated.
Hong Kong has thrived as a financial and legal center thanks in part to its independent rule of law, which many now perceive to be under threat.
The Hong Kong Bar Association, which represents more than 1,000 barristers, expressed regret over the interpretation, saying it would “do more harm than good” and gave the impression that Beijing was effectively legislating for Hong Kong.
The march was only the fourth such protest by the city’s lawyers since 1997.
The last march, in June 2014, was in response to a white paper by China’s cabinet that declared “loving the country” was a basic political requirement for all Hong Kong administrators, including judges and judicial personnel.
Hong Kong was also rocked by months of street protests calling for democracy in 2014 and more recently by calls for independence.
(Reporting by Venus Wu, Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Pair lost battle with their more powerful adversary, which sees independence movement as a threat to national security
By Michael Chugani
South China Morning Post
Who’s sorry now? They had a chance to say sorry but chose to be David staring down Goliath. Gutsy, to be sure, but too gutsy to grasp that the Goliath they faced was not the biblical one. Stones from their slings bounced off Goliath who decapitated them with one swing.
There’s a simple moral to this story: whatever Beijing wants, Beijing gets. Did it want to spin the Basic Law’s oath-taking clause in a way that has sparked a political crisis? No. We brought it on ourselves.
Youngspiration’s Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching may think that being elected gives them the right to do as they please. Opposition legislators may argue that being elected gives the pair the right to take up their seats. No. The process of being duly elected includes a solemn oath-taking, not making a mockery of it. High Court judge Michael Hartmann made that clear in 2004.
Beijing’s stern oath-taking interpretation has left the opposition stammering for a response that resonates. Critics warn of the dire consequences for our international image. They just don’t get it. We’re talking about a regime obsessed with national security. International image means nothing if Beijing believes that Hong Kong’s independence movement is a national security threat. When it draws a line, nothing – not international image, Occupy, or riots – will make it budge.
Did the opposition care about international image when it turned our legislature into a house of thugs who hurled missiles at government officials? What about our international image when opposition legislators scuffled with security guards to help Leung and Yau enter the Legislative Council because they were duly elected, yet mocked the duly elected Legco president?
Opposition legislators have held unity press conferences to condemn Beijing’s interpretation, the Legco president’s refusal to let the Youngspiration pair retake their oaths, and the chief executive’s court action against the two. They claim they disagree with the pair’s behaviour but not once did they hold a joint press conference to condemn the two or even to demand that they apologise.
It would have been far better for Beijing to let our courts decide the Leung and Yau case. Who knows, Beijing may not have meddled if the opposition had sidelined the pair by sending an unequivocal message that it wants no part of the independence movement. Beijing now has the pair’s heads on spikes. More heads may roll. So who’s sorry now?