Posts Tagged ‘“Long Hair”’

Domocracy: Hong Kong protesters march for ‘genuine universal suffrage’ one month after Carrie Lam elected leader

April 23, 2017

More than 200 people also express opposition to way city’s leader is elected

By Jeffie Lam
South China Morning Post

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 4:15pm
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Hong Kong government asks court to unseat four lawmakers for ‘theatrical’ and illegal oath taking with political messages

March 1, 2017

By Jasmine Siu and Eddie Lee
South China Morning Post
Wednesday, 01 March, 2017, 4:00pm

Johnny Mok Shiu-luen SC, for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, said all four oaths fell short of legal requirements

 (From left) Lawmakers Edward Yiu Chung-yim, Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Lau Siu-lai appear at the High Court. Photo: Dickson Lee

The government on Wednesday asked a court to disqualify four lawmakers for embedding political messages into oaths that were read in a theatrical manner, thus undermining the solemnity of the occasion when they should have been pledging allegiance to Hong Kong.

The four are veteran activist “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, former Occupy Central student leader Nathan Law Kwun-chung, lecturer Lau Siu-lai and university professor Edward Yiu Chung-yim. At issue is the oath they took at the Legislative Council meeting on October 12, 2016, when all the lawmakers were sworn in.

The government is asking the court to declare their oaths invalid and their Legco seats vacant in a legal challenge that combines judicial review with miscellaneous proceedings.

Johnny Mok Shiu-luen SC, for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, said all four lawmakers’ oaths fell short of three legal requirements: solemnity, sincerity and non-departure from the form and substance of the prescribed oath.

For instance, he noted, Lau’s oath “became 90-odd linguistic units devoid of any coherence” when she read each word at six-second intervals.

“Therefore the meaning of what she was doing became a matter of speculation or guesswork to the audience,” he said.

And because Lau’s oath was “so abnormal and obviously deliberate”, Mok said, she was using her manner to “send a message over and above her oath”.

In another example, the lawyer said, Leung Kwok-hung turned his oath into a “theatrical performance” and undermined the solemnity of oath taking by holding a yellow umbrella in one hand and a paper board reading “831” with a red cross in the other, which he later tore up.

Mok stressed that while the lawmakers might argue that they were exercising their freedom of speech and expression, the oath-taking ceremony was not the time to do so.

“This is the occasion for one and only one purpose, to swear allegiance to the HKSAR,” he told the High Court. The lawmakers had other opportunities to make their views known, he said, asking: “Why did they choose this particular time?”

The only answer, Mok said, was to make use of the additions and conduct of delivery to undermine the words in the prescribed oath and its solemnity.

He stressed that the oath was not “mere formality or empty form of words”, but a “genuine, solemn and sincere declaration” to pledge allegiance.

“If the oath taker adds words, he offends Article 104 [of the Basic Law], and his oath is unlawful and of no effect,” he continued. “It matters not what the message was … The point is none of this message is permitted by the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance.”

If the judge is not permitted to do this, if the chief executive is not permitted to do this, if the principal officials are not permitted to do this, why are only Legislative Council members entitled to do this?
JOHNNY MOK SHIU-LUEN SC

Mok also noted that all lawmakers were aware of the “clear and unambiguous” requirements prescribed by law.

“If the judge is not permitted to do this, if the chief executive is not permitted to do this, if the principal officials are not permitted to do this, why are only Legislative Council members entitled to do this?” Mok asked. “It’s absurd to suggest this entitlement.”

Yet the lawmakers “deliberately took risks in order to express certain views” he said, performing actions “which at the end of the day could be found to have crossed the line and invalidated their seats”.

But Mok clarified there were also permissible things to say during the ceremony, such as statements that did not carry any objective effect of sending a message.

“It’s not our case that they cannot say anything before or after reading the prescribed oath,” Mok said.

One example he gave was: “Can I go back to my seat now?”

The three-day hearing before Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung followed the successful disqualification of pro-independence Youngspiration lawmakers Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching over their oaths.

Image may contain: 4 people

Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching. Photo by David Wong, SCMP

About 30 people came in support of the lawmakers, including Demosisto founder Joshua Wong Chi-fung and lawmakers Tanya Chan, Leung Yiu-chung, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and Ted Hui Chi-fung.

“Safeguard the Legislative Council, object to the disqualification of lawmakers,” they chanted outside court.

Law, who apologised for not being able to attend Wednesday’s Legco meeting, said he was very concerned over the case as it affected Hongkongers’ electoral rights.

Leung Kwok-hung, meanwhile, said that the democratic movement would continue even if they were disqualified.

“Without [us], there are still a hundred surnames who can run in the election,” he said.

At the swearing-in session last October, Leung took his oath holding a yellow umbrella – a symbol of the Occupy movement – and chanted slogans such as: “We need no approval from the Chinese Communist Party!”

Image may contain: skyscraper, sky and outdoor

He also tore up a copy of the controversial political reform framework decreed by Beijing on August 31, 2014.

Law raised his intonation when saying the word “Republic” in “People’s Republic of China”, as if asking a question.

Yiu inserted this sentence in his oath: “I will uphold procedural justice in Hong Kong, fight for genuine universal suffrage and serve the city’s sustainable development.”

Lau paused for six seconds between every word of her oath. She later wrote on Facebook that she had meant to render the statement “meaningless”.

Includes videos:

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2075124/hong-kong-government-asks-court-unseat-four-lawmakers

Hong Kong: Pan-democrats could be the “kingmakers” in a tight political race

February 17, 2017

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

On March 26, Hong Kong’s next leader will be voted in by an Election Committee of 1,194 members. That only so few have a say reflects the failure of the 2014 Occupy Protests, where protesters demanded “one man, one vote” in choosing the chief executive.

But the experience has galvanised the pan-democratic, or pro-democracy camp, to be more pragmatic. Previously, they would cast blank votes to show that they do not support pro-establishment contenders. This time, they hold 326 votes – which is more than a quarter of the votes in the Election Committee – and are determined to make them count.

With the election featuring three pro-establishment figures – Mrs Carrie Lam, Mr John Tsang and Ms Regina Ip – for the first time, the pan-democrats could be the “kingmakers” in a tight race.

Former security chief Ip, 66, who won the most votes for a female lawmaker in last September’s Legislative Council Election, was the first among the three to announce her candidacy, followed by Mr Tsang, 65, a former finance chief, and Mrs Lam, 59, a former chief secretary. Others include retired judge Woo Kwok Hing, 70, and radical pan-democrat Leung Kwok Hung, 60.

To become the next chief executive, at least 601 votes are needed. To qualify, each contender needs at least 150 nominations from the Election Committee made up of mostly pro-Beijing property tycoons, lawmakers as well as representatives of professional bodies and trade associations.

That’s the challenge for all but Mrs Lam, who has been endorsed by Beijing. She has reportedly secured 300 to 400 nominations while Mr Tsang has 24 nominations from pan-democrats.

Mr Tsang, who is leading in popularity polls, is seen as the strongest contender to Mrs Lam.

Some see Beijing’s move to name its preferred candidate as its bid to control the election, said Professor Lau Siu Kai, vice-chairman of the Beijing-backed Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies. And it is the pan-democrats’ aim to stop Beijing’s choice candidate from becoming the next chief executive.

“If John Tsang and Woo Kwok Hing are able to join the race, there may be unexpected results,” said Prof Lau, referring to the duo deemed acceptable by the pan-democrats. That is because the next leader would be picked by a secret ballot system, which could see Mrs Lam’s supporters switching sides.

Still, if Beijing had not declared its preferred candidate, it is unlikely that any contender would be able to win enough votes.

Last week, radical lawmaker Leung, better known as “Long Hair”, declared his intention to run and urged pan-democrats not to vote for the other four contenders who “do not represent (the) pro-democracy camp”.

But lawmaker Dennis Kwok, who is coordinating votes from the pan-democrats, told reporters the bloc is considering voting for Mr Tsang, Mr Woo and a third nominee picked from a mock online poll.

With nomination closing on March 1, pan-democrats should decide by next week, he said.

Critics have said Mr Leung’s intention to run has further split the pan-democratic camp already faced with the dilemma of whether to support Mr Tsang. Some worry about the possible backlash from endorsing someone who wants to enact the unpopular national security law.

But with Mr Tsang having a huge lead in popularity polls, even if he turns out to be like incumbent Leung Chun Ying, whose policies are unpopular with Hong Kongers, the pan-democrats could say that the candidate they have endorsed was the people’s choice.

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/pan-democratspragmatic-approach-to-upcoming-polls

Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations fade as new campaigns for “elections” (managed by Beijing) begin

December 12, 2016

The Wall Street Journal

Editorial

Leung Chun-ying surprised Hong Kong Friday by announcing that he won’t seek reappointment next year as Chief Executive. But the unpopular leader’s departure doesn’t mean Beijing has reassessed its hard-line approach to the city’s democratic aspirations.

In office since 2012, Mr. Leung has helped China’s central government erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and liberal institutions via systematic attacks on academic freedom, the free press and judicial independence. He faced down the mass pro-democracy protests of 2014 in uncompromising fashion, insisting without evidence that the demonstrations were a foreign plot to subvert China. This earned praise from Chinese supremo Xi Jinping and further radicalized Hong Kong politics.

The election of two pro-independence candidates to the local legislature in September triggered the latest crackdown. First local prosecutors sued to keep the two lawmakers from taking their seats because they had inserted derogatory and separatist language into their oaths of office. Then Beijing bigfooted Hong Kong’s courts and disqualified the duo on its own dubious authority.

Now Mr. Leung’s government is trying to use the same irregular-oath pretext to oust four more opposition lawmakers. They and fellow democrats say the government is mounting a “coup” against them and “declaring war on voters.”

Unless the authorities drop their escalating assault on the opposition, there is no reason to believe Beijing has softened its approach on Hong Kong. Mr. Leung’s successor could work to save a once-great city, but only if Beijing starts to see the wisdom of compromise.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-ruler-for-hong-kong-1481497187

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Globe editorial: How Hong Kong can push China for more democracy

Christopher Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, was not a democratically elected leader. But he and the British government he represented negotiated a deal with Beijing that left Hong Kong with a semi-democratic legislature, under an arrangement known as One Country, Two Systems.

Twenty years later, Lord Patten is offering sound advice to Hong Kong’s understandably frustrated democratic activists: Keep demanding more democracy – but steer clear of calling for independence from China. The communist regime in Beijing can make concessions on the former. It cannot yield on the latter.

Two young politicians elected to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong who favour independence, and who have so far not been allowed to take their seats, were present at a seminar Lord Patten took part in last month. He spoke to them sharply, in effect saying that they should drop the independence idea, and concentrate on achieving greater democracy.

For example, many of the seats in the Hong Kong legislature are elected not by voters under rep-by-pop, but by “functional constituencies.” Their voters are small numbers of business people and lobby groups. These rotten boroughs ensure that the legislature does not fully represent the wishes of Hong Kong’s people.

Turning Hong Kong into another independent Singapore might be a wonderful thing, but Beijing won’t tolerate such a move. And most residents of Hong Kong likely do not favour pure independence. Yet a number of Hong Kong’s loudest pro-democracy activists have recently been pursuing that line.

Further raising the temperature in the debate, a judge of the high court in Hong Kong recently ruled that anyone who advocates independence is disqualified from holding any public office.

This extremely dubious judgment undermines Hong Kong’s reputation for upholding the rule of law. Politically biased decisions such as this one will eat away at the island’s judiciary.

Beijing recognizes One Country, Two Systems. Hong Kong’s democracy activists stand a chance of success if they dispense with questions about the first part of that formulation, while pushing hard to enhance the practice of the latter.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/how-hong-kong-can-push-china-for-more-democracy/article33290785/

Hong Kong’s elections with Chinese characteristics — “The headmaster has spoken.”

December 12, 2016

BBC News

Hong Kong politics has been stormier than usual lately.

There’s been swearing and scuffling in parliament, court battles, and tens of thousands of protesters in the streets.

And, to cap it all off, the Beijing government has intervened directly with a legal ruling to disqualify two legislators – prompting government lawyers to say: “The headmaster has spoken.”

Yet, ironically, it’s a quieter, less dramatic event that shows the fundamental sticking point in Hong Kong politics.

Hong Kong has Election Committee elections on Sunday, but you could call them elections with Chinese characteristics.

Newly elected lawmaker Baggio Leung (C, wearing glasses) is restrained by security after attempting to read out his Legislative Council oath at Legco in Hong Kong on November 2, 2016

Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThings have been rowdy in parliament – with swearing and scuffling in the chamber

A small proportion of Hong Kongers (246,440 out of Hong Kong’s 3.8 million registered voters) have the right to vote for people representing their professional sector – making up an Election Committee of 1,200 people. These 1,200 people are the only people who can vote on who becomes Hong Kong’s next leader.

Hong Kong’s democracy debate

Rebellious lawmaker Yau Wai-ching

Who are the new faces in Hong Kong politics?

And hundreds of seats – mostly in pro-Beijing sectors – have already been filled, because there were no elections, or the candidates ran unopposed.

The fact that this system is undemocratic is what drove tens of thousands of protesters to take over Hong Kong’s streets in 2014. The movement became known as “Occupy Central” – or, the “Umbrella Protests”, after protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from pepper spray fired by the police.

The unprecedented – but mostly peaceful – protests lasted several weeks. The sight of students doing their homework while sat in the streets, or young protesters being teargassed by police, caught the attention of people around the world.

Pro-democracy activists run away during a demonstration in Hong Kong on September 28, 2014.

Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe protests paralysed parts of Hong Kong’s business district for weeks

Yet, two years later, Hong Kong’s leader is about to be chosen by the same 1,200-person committee – and critics say that the protests failed to achieve any practical results – except, possibly, a more divided society.

This may not be completely fair. They were a political awakening for many young people in Hong Kong – and several have now become pro-democracy activists or won seats in September’s parliamentary elections.

High-school demonstrators hold signs during a protest outside the headquarters of Legislative Council in Hong Kong on September 29, 2014

Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe protests were predominantly led by young people. The placards read “Hope comes from the people, change begins from struggle” and “peaceful struggle, no compromises”.

But in practical terms, the so-called “Umbrella Protests” failed to achieve any concessions from Beijing.

The irony is that Hong Kong could have had direct elections for its leader in 2017.

The Chinese government had promised the territory universal suffrage – but said voters would only be able to choose from a list of two or three candidates, pre-vetted by a nominating committee dominated by pro-Beijing members.

Democracy activists derided this as “fake democracy”, and the proposal was voted down in parliament.

The flags of China and Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s relationship with mainland China has been tense in recent years. AFP

Critics accuse Beijing of breaking two promises it made:

  • That Hong Kong’s leader would ultimately be chosen “by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures”, as outlined in the territory’s mini-constitution
  • That the ex-colony would be allowed “a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” for 50 years after it returned to Chinese rule, as agreed with the British government

Did Beijing break the first promise? It depends on who you talk to. Clearly Beijing, and the democracy activists, have very different definitions of the terms “universal suffrage” “broadly representative” and “in accordance with democratic procedures”.

Similarly, the Chinese government would argue that Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the “One Country Two systems” model.

Pro-Beijing demonstrators shout slogans and wave flags outside the Hong Kong Legislative Council on November 13, 2016

Tens of thousands have turned out to protests to support the Chinese government. AFP

But critics point to a series of recent events that have worried many Hong Kongers, including the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers, and artists and writers saying they are under increased pressure to self-censor.

Activists have accused Beijing of meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs with an “invisible hand”.

And it’s that perception of growing mainland Chinese influence that has propelled more young people into supporting independence, or arguing for more radical politics.

This also worries some Hong Kongers, who point out that protests organised by some radical groups have turned violent.

Surprise victories

Anger at the Chinese authorities, and disillusionment with traditional pro-democracy parties, helped propel several new faces to victory in Hong Kong’s legislative council elections in September.

Amongst them were Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching, from a pro-independence party set up after the Umbrella Protests, and Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu, who were all active in the protests.

Nathan Law (C) speaks at a rally with Joshua Wong (centre L) and supporters in Causeway bay following Nathan Law's win in the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong on September 5, 2016

Image copyrightAFP
Image captionNathan Law (centre) was one of a new wave of activists elected to parliament, and won 50,818 votes

Their success was hailed as a sign of Hong Kong’s new generation of democracy activists taking political power for the first time.

But then the government took Mr Leung and Ms Yau to court after they insulted China while being sworn in – and its argument was bolstered when Beijing also issued a controversial legal ruling that effectively invalidated their oaths.

Now, the government is using the same ruling in an attempt to disqualify Mr Law, Ms Lau and Mr Yiu, as well as “Longhair” Leung Kwok-hung, a veteran pro-democracy politician.

Clockwise from top left: Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai, Sixtus Leung, Yau Wai-ching, Nathan Law and Edward Yiu. Copyright: EPA, Reuters, and AFP

Clockwise from top left: Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai, Sixtus Leung, Yau Wai-ching, Nathan Law and Edward Yiu

So, just three months after winning elections, several of Hong Kong’s new political faces – who won a combined 185,727 votes – could be removed from power by a government that was not democratically elected.

It is against this backdrop that the Election Committee vote is taking place.

An unprecedented number of pro-democracy candidates are taking part this year and the pro-democracy camp hopes to win at least 300 seats, so it has more negotiating power over who becomes Hong Kong’s next leader.

Tweet by @xinwenxiaojie that reads:
TWITTER/@XINWENXIAOJIE
Image captionMany have criticised the move to disqualify democratically-elected legislators

But even with a quarter of the 1,200 seats, they will be massively outnumbered by pro-Beijing and pro-establishment groups, who are likely to vote for whichever candidate is backed by Beijing.

It will leave many in Hong Kong wondering: Was the partial democracy offered by Beijing in 2014 the better deal? Where do Hong Kong’s democrats go from here?

And, if the massive umbrella protests could not achieve political change – what will?

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-38251592

Hong Kong Government Seeks to Ban Four More Pro-Democracy Legislators

December 3, 2016

Moves against opposition lawmakers have already seen two barred from office

Newly elected pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker Lau Siu-lai, center, is accompanied by other pro-democracy lawmakers during a press conference in November. Hong Kong’s government said Friday it was seeking to ban four pro-democracy legislators, including Ms. Lau.
Newly elected pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker Lau Siu-lai, center, is accompanied by other pro-democracy lawmakers during a press conference in November. Hong Kong’s government said Friday it was seeking to ban four pro-democracy legislators, including Ms. Lau. PHOTO: VINCENT YU/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Updated Dec. 3, 2016 1:54 a.m. ET

Hong Kong’s government said Friday it was seeking to ban four pro-democracy legislators, in another move against opposition lawmakers that has already seen two barred from office.

The government said in a statement that it requested a court to declare the four legislators’ oaths of office invalid and vacate their seats. The legislators, Lau Siu-lai,Leung Kwok-hung,Edward Yiu, and Nathan Law, marched to the offices of Hong Kong’s chief executive to protest the move.

The government’s action is “total war launched against all democrats and all voters supporting democracy,” Mr. Law, a leader of Occupy Central protests in 2014, said in a statement.

On Wednesday, two other legislators, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung, lost an appeal of a court ruling banning them from office after they altered their oaths at a swearing-in ceremony in October. The two pledged allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” and displayed a banner stating, “Hong Kong is not China.”

Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung

In November, Beijing issued a rare interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, effectively barring Ms. Yau and Mr. Leung from office. Chinese officials said that talk of independence threatened the principle of “one country, two systems” under which Hong Kong has been governed since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law said that oaths of office must be taken sincerely and solemnly, with no alterations to substance.

Each of the four legislators targeted Friday had their own takes on the oath of office at the same October ceremony. Some added phrases to the oath. Ms. Lau delivered her oath at an exaggeratedly slow pace, while Leung Kwok-hung, a veteran pro-democracy activist known by the nickname “Long Hair,” held a yellow umbrella in a nod to the Occupy Central movement.

Write to Ned Levin at ned.levin@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-government-seeks-to-ban-four-more-pro-democracy-legislators-1480684822

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Hong Kong moves to disqualify pro-democracy legislators

December 2, 2016

BBC News

Nathan Law (left) and "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung 30/11/2016

Nathan Law (left) and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung could face disqualificatio. Reuters

Hong Kong’s government is moving to disqualify four pro-democracy lawmakers from parliament.

The government is launching legal challenges against Nathan Law, Edward Yiu, Lau Siu-lai and Leung Kwok-hung, arguing that the oaths they took when being sworn in were invalid.

It comes after two pro-independence politicians were disqualified after they insulted China during their oaths.

Critics describe the latest move as politically motivated.

However, the government said in a statement the action was “purely based on legal and enforcement concerns” with “no political consideration involved”.

Mr Law, Mr Yiu and Ms Lau were part of a new wave of democracy activists elected in September, following Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy “umbrella protests”.

Mr Law described the move as an “orchestrated attack… against all democrats and all voters supporting democracy”.

Why is this a big deal?

This move from the government will be seen as highly controversial to many.

The government took Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung, two young pro-independence legislators, to court in October – in an unprecedented bid to disqualify democratically elected officials.

The government argued that because Ms Yau and Mr Leung used swear words, displayed banners saying “Hong Kong is not China” and used a term considered derogatory towards China as they were sworn in to parliament, their oaths were invalid and they should be disqualified.

Public opinion in Hong Kong was divided over that case – many were critical of the government’s involvement, but others were angered by the duo’s actions.

Pro-Beijing supporters gather outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on October 26, 2016

Tens of thousands of pro-Beijing protesters have demanded that Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung be disqualified. Getty Images

However, many more people are critical about the move against the four lawmakers now being targeted. Their oaths weren’t considered as controversial and the president of Hong Kong’s parliament had allowed them to take their seats.

 

 

These four are also considered more moderate pro-democracy activists. They have not campaigned for Hong Kong’s independence from China.

In previous parliamentary sessions, lawmakers have also shouted pro-democracy slogans or protested while oath-taking, without being disqualified.

Who are the four – and how did they take their oaths?

Leung Kwok-hung - known as 'Long Hair' - of the League of Social Democrats shouts slogans and rips up the '831 ruling' before taking the Legislative Council Oath at the first meeting of the Sixth Legislative Council (Legco) in Hong Kong on October 12, 2016

Leung Kwok-hung ripped up an unpopular ruling from Beijing while reading his oath. AFP

Leung Kwok-hung, known by the nickname “Long Hair”, is a veteran pro-democracy politician. During his oath, he held a yellow umbrella – a symbol of the 2014 protests – varied his pace and shouted pro-democracy slogans after the reading.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Lau Siu-lai attends a news conference at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong November 30, 2016

Lau Siu-lai won elections after her performance in TV debates impressed voters. Reuters

Ms Lau is a university lecturer who took part in the 2014 umbrella protests.

She gave her oath in slow motion, pausing six seconds between each word, and later wrote on Facebook that she had done so because she felt the oath was meaningless.

Her oath was invalidated – but she was allowed to retake it later.

Student protesters Joshua Wong (C), Alex Show (2nd L) and Nathan Law (R) shout slogans outside a court of justice in Hong Kong on September 2, 2015

Nathan Law (right) was one of the students involved in the 2014 umbrella protests. AFP

Mr Law was one of the students taking part in the 2014 protests – and became Hong Kong’s youngest ever lawmaker when he won September’s parliamentary elections.

He quoted Mahatma Gandhi before taking his oath, saying: “You can never imprison my mind.”

He also altered his tone when pledging allegiance to the People’s Republic of China, making it sound like a question.

Newly elected pro-democracy lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim smiles as he takes oath in the new legislature Council in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016

Edward Yiu added words supporting democracy to his oath. AP

Mr Yiu, a university professor, advised the students organising the 2014 protests. He added lines to his oath, saying he would “fight for genuine universal suffrage”.

His oath was rejected the first time – but he was allowed to retake it later.

Why is the government doing this now?

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (L) and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen (R) take part in a press conference in Hong Kong on November 7, 2016

Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen (right) said that all legislators “should act in accordance with the law” AFP

Last month, the Chinese government issued a rare interpretation of Hong Kong’s law, saying that all oaths taken by office-holders must be “solemn, accurate, complete and sincere”, with no deviation from the official wording.

The move was widely seen as an attempt to disqualify the two pro-independence legislators, who had angered Beijing, and critics argued that it undermined Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

The government now argues that it has a duty to enforce the law, but Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen has not explained why some pro-Beijing legislators, who had also faced allegations that they varied their oaths, were not facing legal action.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-38183979

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Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Brought To A Halt Again By Rebel Lawmakers Who Won’t Swear Loyalty to China

November 2, 2016

Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching rush chamber floor, get barred from entering side room, and police and medical help sought

By Jeffie LamJoyce NgShirley ZhaoNaomi Ng, and Tony Cheung
South China Morning Post

Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 4:13 p.m.
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Refusal To Swear an Oath to China: Hong Kong Lawmakers Tie Up Legislative Council Again, November 2, 2016

Key points today:

> The fourth meeting of the Legislative Council was adjourned by Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen around 1.30pm today after four security guards were hurt when they tried to block localist lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang from entering a conference room where the lawmaking body had relocated.

 Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang (restrained in group) and Yau Wai-ching (with microphone) on the chamber floor. Photo: Felix Wong

> At Andrew Leung’s request, a team of police officers arrived at the chaotic scene, and three security guards were sent to hospital.

> The Legco president rejected Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun’s request to move an urgent question about interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. To cited media reports the National People’s Congress Standing Committee was considering the possibility.

 Yau Wai-ching speaking after being taken away from the Legco chamber in Tamar. Photo: Sam Tsang

> In the main chamber, Andrew Leung suspended Legco’s meeting for 30 minutes at 11:30am and changed the meeting venue after the two localists stormed the chamber. The two had been banned from attending until they are formally sworn in.

> Localist Lau Siu-lai, whose original oath was invalidated because of the extremely slow manner in which she recited it, was successfully sworn in.

3.35pm – Andrew Leung condemns violence

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen condemns the violent acts of the Youngspiration duo and their supporters. He says six security guards were injured in the row.

 Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen condemned the chaos that led to injuries. Photo: Sam Tsang

Leung says news that Beijing planned to interpret the Basic Law in order to settle the oath saga was premature. He says the Hong Kong court’s hearing of the oath-taking case is still on for tomorrow as far as he knows.

2pm – No contrition from Youngspiration duo

Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching appear unapologetic over the injuries, saying some assistants to other lawmakers were injured too. He says the Legco president and Secretariat should bear full responsibility for the chaos and injuries.

“I’ll send them my regards,” he says when asked whether he will apologise to the injured officers.

I call on them not to take orders from bosses that are unreasonable and unlawful
BAGGIO LEUNG, ADDRESSING INJURED OFFICERS

“I call on them not to take orders from bosses that are unreasonable and unlawful,” he adds. “They have a choice.”

The two say they only meant to enter the meeting room and perform their duties as lawmakers and did not mean to hurt anyone.

Leung explains why he and Yau changed their minds about staying away from the meeting and decided instead to storm the conference room – Andrew Leung’s rejection of James To’s motion to debate Beijing’s possible interpretation of the Basic Law.

“If the legislature cannot even debate this major issue, what is it doing here?” he asks.

1.50pm – ‘Totally unacceptable’

Pro-establishment lawmakers say after the meeting that the Legco Commission should hold an emergency meeting to discuss how to improve security arrangements to prevent security guards from being injured again.

DAB lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king says she was informed about the decision to call the police to intervene and that she agreed with it.

“Our security guards are not professional enough and they need help,” she says. “[The violence] is totally unacceptable and all those involved should be condemned.”

 A Legco security employee being carried out today. Photo: Sam Tsang

1.31pm – Carried out on stretchers

Four Legislative Council security employees are receiving medical help, with three being brought out on stretchers. One is given an oxygen mask.

In total, three security guards – one woman and two men – are being sent to hospital following the chaos.

1.25pm – ‘Is this Legco or a police station?’

“Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung tries to block police officers from entering the conference room.

“Is this Legco or a police station?” he asks.

 “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung trying to block police at Legco. Photo: Sam Tsang

Moments earlier, the radical pro-democracy lawmaker blasts Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen for notifying the police, calling the decision “a very serious and unreasonable event”.

 Medical attention inside Legco’s conference room where today’s meeting was held and adjourned. Photo: Joyce Ng

1.20pm – Police arrive

At least seven police officers arrive at Legco following the chaos outside conference room 1. By law, police officers are not authorised to enter the legislature unless they are invited by the Legco president and the Secretary-General.

The officers include members of Police Tactical Unit. They have yet to explain their purpose.

 Police arriving at Legco. Photo: Jeffie Lam

1.16pm – Meeting adjourned

Legco president announces today’s meeting is adjourned. Next meeting is to be held next week.

1.11pm – A security guard faints

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen tells media outside the conference room that a security guard has fainted and that the body’s Secretariat has filed a police report.

1.07pm – Another suspension

After Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Ronald Chan Ngok-pang reads out his answer to the first oral question and before lawmakers pose their follow-up questions, the Legco president suspends the meeting citing “the chaos outside”.

Outside the room, scuffles break out as Youngspiration tries to push through the security guards and storm the meeting. They swear at the guards, and more security guards are deployed.

 The Legislative Council building in Tamar today before the chaos got going. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

1pm – ‘You’re breaking the law!’

Some people, who appeared to be backers of the localist group Youngspiration, are shouting at security guards outside the conference room where the Legislative Council is meeting. The guards had blocked the two localist lawmakers from entering the meeting room moments before.

“Don’t block us, aunties!” they chant at the female guards. “According to the powers and privileges ordinance, no one should block lawmakers from entering the meeting room. You are now breaking the law.”

12.59pm – Moving right along

After Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen’s ruling and the Youngspiration pair are prevented from entering, Democrat Ted Hui Chi-fung is allowed to ask the first oral question. Hui asks about irregularities in the Legislative Council elections.

12:55pm – Guess who’s back again?

Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching, who after today’s suspended proceedings in the main chamber said they would not storm the council meeting again, attempt to enter the new meeting venue again, triggering more chaos.

 Yau Wai-ching (head between arms) trying to enter Legco’s conference room. Photo: Sam Tsang

12.54pm – No debate allowed

Several pan-democrats Wu Chi-wai and Claudia Mo urge the president to allow the motion, also saying the chief executive had hinted at the possibility of an interpretation by Beijing.

To this Andrew Leung says: “I have decided.”

“My ruling is not open to debate,” the Legco president adds. “If you want to clarify anything, do it on another occasion.”

12.52pm – And the first order of business…

Meeting resumes. Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen disallows Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun’s motion for a debate on interpreting Basic Law interpretation.

“Obviously, Councillor To’s request is based on media reports, not real happenings,” Leung says. “So I can’t approve it.”

To disagrees with Leung’s ruling. The lawmaker cites Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as saying that he would not “rule out the possibility” of interpreting the Basic Law.

 Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen speaking to media after adjourning the meeting today. Photo: Sam Tsang

12.42pm – Meeting resuming soon

Legco will reconvene in 10 minutes in conference room 1. Most lawmakers are getting ready in their seats.

12.09pm – Lo Wai-kwok calls for respect of rules

Pro-establishment lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok, representing the engineering sector, says he hopes lawmakers could respect council rules.

“If some people storm in the chamber, utter a lot of words and then say they have finished taking their oath, it is absolutely ridiculous,” he says.

 A grim-faced pair: Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung outside Legco. Photo: Sam Tsang

12.04pm – ‘Beijing might encourage Hong Kong independence’

Baggio Leung says if Beijing does interpret the Basic Law, it would help the growth of Hong Kong independence. He says the “one country, two systems” principle and Hong Kong independence are two options Hongkongers have and that an interpretation would undermine the principle, and thus leave Hongkongers no option but to choose independence.

11.56am – Motion to debate Beijing’s possible interpretation

As the Legco meeting resumes in conference room 1, veteran Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun tables a motion calling for a debate on the National People’s Congress’ expected interpretation of the Basic Law regarding Youngspiration duo’s oath-taking.

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwun-yuen calls for another break so that he can consider whether to allow the debate.

11.50am – Baggio Leung holds forth

During the 30-minute break, Baggio Leung announces that he and Yau will not try again for now to enter conference room 1.

Our seats now only symbolise whether truth exists in Hong Kong
BAGGIO LEUNG

“I don’t want any journalists to get injured or encounter any danger,” he says.

Asked if he and Yau would stay away from the council meeting today, Leung says: “Please give us some time to think about what we’ll do next.”

The Youngspiration member says an interpretation by Beijing would “not only destroy democracy, but also our core values, separation of powers, everything”.

Leung dismissed concerns that he was jeopardising his seat in the city’s legislature.

“Our seats now only symbolise whether truth exists in Hong Kong,” he says. “I hope to prove to the court that we are right, otherwise we’ll question whether Hong Kong is still the place we knew.”

“I dare say it is not.”

 Baggio Leung with Yau Wai-ching speaking outside the chamber. Photo: Sam Tsang

11.50am – Pro-establishment leader criticises duo

Lawmaker and executive councillor Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, says the Youngspiration duo’s entering the chamber was disrespectful of the Legco president’s decision and prevented the council from discussing legislative affairs.

 DAB chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king speaking outside Legco after the meeting was suspended. Photo: David Wong

“I hope [the pair] will not enter by force again, and I hope the non-establishment lawmakers do not escort them into the council again,” she says.

She declines to comment on Beijing’s possible interpretation of the Basic Law.

Watch: Live from Legco, after localist pair were blocked in attempt to retake oaths

11.31am – If at first you don’t succeed…

Before the meeting resumes in Legco’s conference room 1 on the second floor, the Youngspiration duo take a lift from the first floor to try to enter the room by surprise.

But they were outpaced by security guards who blocked them at the room entrances. They are stuck, surrounded by photographers and cameramen.

 Baggio Leung would not leave the chamber, but did after Legco president Andrew Leung announced a new venue for the meeting. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

11.26am – Baggio not budging

Baggio Leung refuses to leave the chamber. Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen announces the council meeting will continue in a conference room in 30 minutes.

 Baggio Leung surrounded and Yau Wai-ching being escorted away. Photo: Felix Wong

11.25am – Yau Wai-ching speaks

Yau Wai-ching said after being escorted out that she entered the chamber to carry out her responsibility as a lawmaker.

Whoever asks for interpretation of the law is the one selling Hongkongers out
YAU WAI-CHING

“I have read the whole oath and I hope I can keep staying in the chamber and attend the meeting,” she says.

Yau said Legco president Andrew Leung had contravened the rules in blocking her from taking her oath.

Yau also expressed concerns this morning over Beijing’s possible hand in the matter.

“My concern is about the destruction of the ‘one country two systems’ policy,” she says.

“Whoever asks for interpretation of the law is the one selling Hongkongers out.”

 Yau Wai-ching being taken away this morning. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

11.24am – Support circle

Baggio Leung is helped by pan-democratic and localist allies, including Ted Hui Chi-fung, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who surround the Youngspiration member as security guards try to take him away.

Watch: Legco live as it’s happening

11.16am – ‘This cannot be done!’

Lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick joins the Legco fray, shouting: “This cannot be done! He [Baggio Leung] was voted in and chosen by thousands of Hongkongers!”

11.12am – Physical obstruction

Lawmakers and security guards are in a deadlock as a group tries to physically carry Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang out of the chamber.

Pan-democratic lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung lies on the floor to block the procession out.

 Pro-establishment lawmakers turn their back on localist Lau Siu-lai. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

11.07am – The duo enter and rush the floor

As the UGL motion was passed, Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching enter the chamber accompanied by several pan-democratic lawmakers trailing them, including Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Nathan Law Kwun-chung.

 The duo enter the chamber. Photo: Felix Wong

Once inside, the two rush the table in front of Legco president Andrew Leung. They take out a small piece of paper, pick up a small microphone and start to read the Legislative Council Oath.

 But the Legco president tells them to leave, and when they refuse, he asks the security guards to take them away.

 Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang outside Legco this morning. Photo: Sam Tsang

This request prompts several accompanying lawmakers, including Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, to try to stop the security guards from taking them away.

Andrew Leung orders the meeting to be suspended. Yau is taken away. Baggio Leung remains.

11.05am – Meanwhile, a motion passes

Accountancy sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung’s motion to launch a special inquiry into Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying’s UGL controversy is passed after 28 lawmakers including the lawmakers stand in support of his motion.

The probe will look at the chief executive’s receipt in 2014 of HK$50 million from Australian firm UGL.

11.01am – Lau Siu-lai finally sworn in

Legco meeting starts, and Lau has taken her oath.

10.49am – Regina Ip talks and balks

New People’s Party chairwoman and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee struggles to give an answer when asked whether she supports or opposes an interpretation by Beijing.

“The good side of it is it can speed up the process,” she says. “It may be two years for the local judicial process to resolve the case.

She says the central government is “furious” about the Youngspiration duo.

“The down side is an interpretation will attack Hong Kong’s rule of law and the authority of the Hong Kong government.”

So does she support the move or not? “I don’t know,” she says.

10.45am – Protesters outside Legco

Around 20 demonstrators from the League of Social Democrats protested outside Legco, chanting: “legislators’ right to be elected should not be deprived by the Chinese communist party”. They urged Legco chairman Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to withdraw his decision to bar the Youngspiration duo from taking their oath again, saying the decision showed he had given up his non-partisan position in depriving lawmakers of their right to discuss legislative affairs.

 The protest area outside Legco in Tamar is relatively empty this morning. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung is among the protesters and says the Legco president has capitulated to Beijing and suppressed democratically elected lawmakers.

“If [Leung] insists on serving the strong power, ignoring people’s opinions and trampling the Legislative Council, the non-establishment lawmakers will have no other choice but to escalate our fight till the end,” he said.

Watch: Jeffie Lam reports live outside Legco as lawmakers return for fourth meeting

10.44am – Former missing bookseller chimes in

Former missing bookseller Lam Wing-Kee announces he will join a demonstration 7pm tonight from the chief executive’s office to the central government’s liaison office in the city.

In a statement sent by the Democratic Party, Lam said Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law to settle the oath case would “destroy the judicial independence of Hong Kong”.

10.40am – One localist’s plan

Lau Siu-Lai, who is arranged to retake the oath today, says she will act “according to her conscience” before entering the chamber.

The localist was asked to redo he oath after pausing too long between every word during her first oath taking.

 Lawmaker Lau Siu-lai had her first oath invalidated. Photo: David Wong

10.35am – Democratic Party blasts possible Beijing review

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said his party strongly opposed Beijing’s possible interpretation of the Basic Law, arguing Hong Kong had jurisdiction to handle the dispute.

He said the possible move by the NPCSC might hurt global confidence in the “one country, two systems” principle.

 Lawmaker James To Kun-sun (centre), flanked by fellow Democratic Party members, calling on Beijing to refrain from interpreting the Basic Law over the oath controversy. Photo: David Wong

The Democrats have filed an urgent oral question and an adjournment motion pending approval by Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen. They also asked for an urgent meeting with Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung to discuss the oath matter.

 Pro-establishment protesters outside the legislative complex in Tamar this morning. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

10.30am – ‘Leave it to the court’

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok, representing the legal sector, said it would be a significant blow to Hong Kong’s rule of law should the National People’s CongressStanding Committee decide to interpret the Basic Law at this stage as a judicial review looms.

“I want to tell NPCSC and the Basic Law Committee directly that I hope they would respect the ongoing judicial process in Hong Kong and that the court would definitely handle the case in a fair and just manner,” he said. “I don’t see any need for the [NPCSC] to interpret the law at this stage.”

 Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang today. Photo: David Wong

He also alleged conflicts of interests involving Johnny Mok Shu-luen SC, a Basic Law Committee member who is representing the government in the Legco legal challenge.

Mok should either promise not to engage in the committee’s discussion on interpreting the law or not represent the government in the case, he said.

The newly-elected Legislative Council, which had its weekly council meeting adjourned for two consecutive weeks since it started on October 12, will convene again at 11am this morning.

The meeting comes just a day ahead of a court hearing for a judicial review filed by the government challenging the Legco president’s decision to allow two localist lawmakers to retake their oaths after their first failed attempt caused a huge political stir.

It also comes after the national legislative body confirmed plans to intervene in the row by issuing an interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution on Thursday – as suggested by Beijing and local sources.

The oaths by Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, both of the localist group Youngspiration, were invalidated by the president after they pledged allegiance to “Hong Kong nation” and called China “Shina” –a derogatory term used by Japan during the second world war.

Watch: Legco oath-taking crisis last Wednesday

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen originally decided to offer the pair a second chance, but he later made a dramatic U-turn and banned the duo from entering the chamber after his pro-Beijing allies protested.

The meeting was eventually cut short last week after the localist pair defied Leung’s decision to storm the chamber with the help of eight pan-democrats.

Lawmakers across the political spectrum are today expected to clearly express their views on Beijing’s reported plan to interpret the Basic Law – a plan already strongly condemned by pan-democrats and legal scholars as a huge blow to the city’s rule of law and a deprival of Hong Kong court’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, it remains uncertain whether another newly-elected localist, Lau Siu-lai of the Democracy Groundwork, will be able to retake her oath smoothly in today’s session. Leung granted her a second chance after she spent eight minutes delivering her first oath by pausing six seconds between even Chinese word.

 Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang (second right) of Youngspiration surrounded by pro-democratic lawmakers Nathan Law Kwun-chung (white shirt) and Shiu Ka-chun (far right) last Wednesday. Photo: Sam Tsang

It was understood that the democratic caucus planned to facilitate Lau’s oath-taking and that the Youngspiration pair would not storm the meeting until Lau had been sworn in.

The Legco Secretariat introduced new measures yesterday dividing the area outside the chamber between the press zone and a passageway for councillors to use. It reminded reporters they were prohibited from entering the chamber or blocking lawmakers from entering.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2042246/legco-showdown-resumes-hong-kong-localists-seek-retake-oaths

Hong Kong Legislature Blocked By Newest Lawmakers

October 19, 2016

BBC News

 Pro-Beijing legislators walk out of the main chambers in protest against the second swearing-in of pro-independence lawmakers

From swearing to throwing luncheon meat, unprecedented scenes have been playing out in Hong Kong’s lawmaking body – the Legislative Council.

On Wednesday, dozens of lawmakers staged a walk-out ahead of a second attempt to swear in newly elected pro-independence lawmakers.

On the surface, the row is over the oath lawmakers have to take.

But it has brought to the fore the deep divisions between those who accept and those challenging Chinese control.

What exactly is the problem with the oath?

Hong Kong has been governed under the “one country, two systems” principle since it was returned to China in 1997.

It means that Hong Kong enjoys certain freedoms not granted to mainland Chinese, but crucially its leader is selected by a mostly pro-Beijing committee.

Empty seats with China and Hong Kong flags are seen inside a chamber after pro-Beijing lawmakers staged a walk-outImage copyrightAFP
Image captionIt is now unclear when the swearing in will take place

But in September, two members of the new political party Youngspiration were elected to the LegCo.

They identify themselves as “localists”, a movement which objects to what followers see as a gradual encroachment of mainland China in Hong Kong politics and culture.

These Youngspiration MPs are at the more extreme end of that, and want total independence for Hong Kong.

So they decided they could not swear the oath in its current form, which is this:

“I swear that, being a member of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, I will uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and serve the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region conscientiously, dutifully, in full accordance with the law, honestly and with integrity.”

So what did they do instead?

Last Wednesday, when Sixtus Leung, 30, and Yau Wai-ching, 25 were being sworn in, they altered the oath to reflect that they do not accept Hong Kong as a territory of China. They swore while saying it and provocatively mispronounced China.

Activists Baggio Leung (R) and Yau Wai-ching (L) stand outside the chamber after pro-Beijing lawmakers staged a walk-out to stall their swearing-in at the Legislative Council in Hong KongImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionActivists Sixtus ‘Baggio’ Leung (R) and Yau Wai-ching (L) altered the oaths in a series of different ways

They pledged allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” and held up a banner that said “Hong Kong is not China”.

Amid a furore in the LegCo chamber, their oaths were deemed invalid by legislative officials, and the swearing-in was put back a week.

So far so chaotic. So then what?

The government launched an unprecedented legal attempt to delay Mr Leung and Ms Yau’s swearing in until a judicial review.

On Tuesday, the High Court rejected the request for a delay, paving the way for them to be sworn in on Wednesday. But it did agree to a judicial review.

Newly elected lawmaker Yau Wai-ching displays a banner before taking oath at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China October 12, 2016.Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionTwo of the lawmakers are part of the “localist” movement that advocates for an independent Hong Kong

However, on Wednesday dozens of pro-Beijing lawmakers staged a walk-out before Mr Leung and Ms Yau were sworn in, demanding that the duo apologise for “insulting our motherland”.

One of them, Holden Chow, told the BBC: “(Mr Leung and Ms Yau) have really gone too far. They actually provoked a lot of Hong Kong people. And also they are simply provoking all Chinese people so they do owe us an apology.”

In retaliation another lawmaker threw pieces of luncheon meat at those walking out.

Pro-independence lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung (L), known as Long Hair, holds up a piece of lunchmeat as he argues with pro-Beijing lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun on 19 October 2016Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionPan-democrat Leung Kwok-hung, also known as Long Hair, threw the slices of luncheon meat

With them gone, there weren’t enough lawmakers in the room for the oaths to take place.

It’s unclear when the swearing in will now take place.

Mr Leung called the walk-out “stupid”.

“I am not surprised that the government will put a lot of focus on both me and Yau Wai-ching but I think their action is a bit over (the top),” he told the BBC.

The BBC’s Danny Vincent in Hong Kong says the two members of Youngspiration remain defiant but also appeared genuinely nervous about the possibility of losing their seats.

How did Hong Kong get to this point?

In 2014, mass pro-democracy street protests erupted, with thousands taking the streets for weeks demanding fully democratic elections for Hong Kong’s leader.

The Umbrella Movement, as it came to be known, was led by young people who wanted their voices heard.

Activists hold yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement
The Umbrella Movement is a symbol of the pro-democracy movement. Credit Getty Images

After the mass demonstrations failed to win any concessions from Beijing, some of those protesters instead entered mainstream politics, to try to enact the change they wanted through constitutional means.

But some took a more hardline view, fearing that Beijing was tightening its grip and influence over Hong Kong and wanting to preserve Hong Kong’s unique culture and freedoms.

In the last elections, a handful of those youth protesters, including both pro-democracy and pro-independence voices, won seats in the LegCo.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-37700538

Related:

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Beijing loyalists demand apologies from Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching for ‘insulting’ China with distorted version of oath in region’s legislative council

Dozens of pro-Beijing lawmakers staged a walkout from the Hong Kong legislature on Wednesday to stop the swearing-in of two pro-independence politicians.

Sixtus “Baggio” Leung and Yau Wai-ching of the radical activist Youngspiration party were among five lawmakers expected to redo their swearing-in so they can take office. They were part of a new wave of activist candidates who were elected last month amid a rising tide of anti-China sentiment in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

Yau and Leung sparked outrage from the pro-Beijing establishment when their first oaths were rejected by legislative officials last week. On that occasion they pledged allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” and displayed a banner declaring that “Hong Kong is not China”, using language some legislators portrayed as derogatory Japanese slang.

On Wednesday, after two others recited their oaths properly, the pro-Beijing lawmakers staged a walkout, depriving the chamber of the quorum needed to continue. They blasted Leung and Yau for being “disrespectful” and insulting China and demanded they apologise..

The council’s president adjourned the meeting after 15 minutes because there were not enough members to continue. It is unclear when swearing-in will take place.

Senior pro-establishment lawmaker Regina Ip said she generally disapproved of walkouts, but the legislators had no option after the pair refused to apologise for “insulting our motherland”.

“This is a very exceptional case involving a fundamental principle which involves loyalty to your country and adherence to our oath of upholding the … law,” she said.

Yau said it was the pro-establishment camp that needed to apologise as they were “the ones who really betrayed the Hong Kong people”.

New legislative president Andrew Leung, himself a pro-establishment figure, stood by his defiance of government efforts to ban Yau and Leung. “They are duly elected … and I have a constitutional duty to safeguard their rights to fulfil their duties as legislative council members,” he said.

The government had sought to bar the pair from taking their oaths again but failed in an unprecedented legal attempt on Tuesday to halt the swearing-in. However, high court judge Thomas Au did approve the government’s request for a judicial review of the case, which will take place early next month, in which authorities will formally challenge the decision to allow Leung, 30, and Yau, 25, to retake their oaths.

The pair are part of a new generation of Hong Kong activists determined to force issues of self-determination and independence on to the mainstream political agenda.

Outside the legislature on Wednesday, hundreds of pro-Beijing protesters thronged the grounds, some carrying placards of the pair dressed in Japanese army uniforms that denounced them as “traitors” and “dogs”. Others chanted that the pair must step down to protect China’s “dignity”.

Sixtus ‘Baggio’ Leung and Yau Wai-ching speak to the press about efforts by the Hong Kong government to bar them from taking the legislative council oath again.
Pinterest
Sixtus ‘Baggio’ Leung and Yau Wai-ching speak to the press about efforts by the Hong Kong government to bar them from taking the legislative council oath again. Photograph: Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images

At the legislature’s opening session a week ago, the duo and two other pro-democracy lawmakers modified their oaths, which call for lawmakers to pledge allegiance to the “Hong Kong special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China”.

Leung and Yau had mispronounced China as Shina, an archaic Japanese term for the country that is seen as derogatory. Leung crossed his fingers while taking the oath while Yau pledged allegiance to “the Hong Kong special administrative region of the People’s Refucking of Shina”.

Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Hong Kong: Another Day of Minor Uproar At LegCo — Youngspiration pair whose modified oaths kicked off the controversy scheduled to retake their oaths at a Legco meeting next week

October 19, 2016

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Insufficient quorum ends tumultuous meeting as Legislative Council president defends his decision to reschedule swearing-in of Youngspiration pair

By Joyce NgJeffie LamRaymond YeungOwen Fung, and Stuart Lau
South China Morning Post

Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 2:34 p.m.
.
 

12.30pm – A word from the president

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said it was “unfortunate” his colleagues chose to walk out and that he had no choice but to adjourn the meeting.

“I know that there are different views in society regarding the behaviour of the two [localists], and legislators have their right to express their views,” the veteran pro-establishment member said. “They chose to express their views by leaving their seats.”

Watch: the Legco walkout drama

Leung said he would not condemn the walkout. He added that lawmakers’ utmost duty was to attend meetings and that he would meet all his colleagues to resolve the matter.

 Pro-establishment lawmakers speaking to the press after their walkout. Photo: David Wong

He said the Youngspiration pair whose modified oaths kicked off the controversy would be scheduled to retake their oaths at a Legco meeting next week.

We are far from a constitutional crisis
ANDREW LEUNG, AFTER THE LEGCO WALKOUT

The Legco president said two of his colleagues in the pro-establishment camp had told him of the walkout plan 30 minutes before the meeting. He stressed he was unaware of the plan before then.

Leung insisted he had conducted the shortened meeting impartially. “As my predecessor [Jasper Tsang Yok-sing] said, being Legco president is a very lonely job,” he said, adding he had no regrets about his decision to let the Youngspiration pair retake their oaths.

He said he had a constitutional obligation to let the two popularly elected lawmakers perform their duties.

“We are far from a constitutional crisis,” he said. But he would not comment on the judicial review sought by the administration, saying he would only “concentrate on Legco matters”.

Leung also said he would not concern himself with speculation over government plans to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress.


12.20pm – A blow to the city’s legal institutions?

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok, of the legal sector, said the walkout staged by the pro-establishment camp was a huge blow to the city’s rule of law, and disrespectful to the court system.

The collaboration of the government and pro-establishment camp proves that the legal challenge by the administration is a farce
DENNIS KWOK, CIVIC PARTY

He noted a Hong Kong court had last night refused to grant an injunction preventing the Youngspiration lawmakers from retaking their oaths today.

“The collaboration of the government and pro-establishment camp [in launching the walkout] … proves that the legal challenge by the administration is a farce,” he said. “How much do they want to sacrifice to achieve their political aims?”

Kwok asked whether the government and those loyal to Beijing would seek to push the national legislature to interpret the Basic Law.

Pan-democrats had originally planned to present a petition today setting up a select committee to investigate HK$50 million Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying received from Australian engineering firm UGL.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting accused the pro-establishment camp of helping the chief executive block the establishment of a select committee.

 Lau Siu-lai (front left) with other pan-democratic lawmakers meeting the press after the meeting ended. Photo: Sam Tsang

Meanwhile, localist Lau Siu-lai said she hoped to retake her oath next Wednesday, saying that was the plan as approved by Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen.

 Lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung threw luncheon meat at pro-establishment lawmakers over the walkout. He later apologised. Photo: David Wong

11.50am – Scorn from the pan-democrats

Legco’s democratic caucus of lawmakers has strongly condemned the walkout staged by the Beijing-friendly lawmakers.

Camp convenor Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said the pro-establishment members “blatantly adjourned the meeting with the use of rules of procedures to block lawmakers from retaking their oaths”.

 Eddie Chu Hoi-dick facing off with Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun. Photo: David Wong

He accused them of abetting the government’s “unreasonable” legal challenge and destroying the city’s separation of powers.

“Lawmakers are returned by the citizens and a court refused to grant an injunction last night regarding the ruling by the Legco president,” he added.

To called the walkout unacceptable.

11.45am – Walkout explained

Speaking to media outside the chamber, Martin Liao Cheung-kong, convenor of the pro-establishment camp, dismissed claims of a coordinated walkout or of a U-turn leading to it.

When the idea was raised by Paul Tse Wai-chun, he said, several pro-establishment legislators disagreed with it.

Liao maintained that while individual members had expressed their opinion on the matter prior to today’s meeting, no coordinated agreement had been reached.

“There was no decision made,” he said. “Therefore there was no U-turn.”

 Newly elected lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai of Civic Passion. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Inside the chamber, Civic Passion’s Cheng Chung-tai could be seen turning the flags of China and Hong Kong, which DAB’s Lau Kwok-fan had brought in, upside down.

DAB’s Gary Chan Hak-kan said Cheng’s act was against the law.

“We reserve the right to take legal action,” he said.

11.30am – Jubilation outside Legco

Hundreds of protesters outside Legco broke into cheers after the walkout.

“Good news, good news,” they shouted, standing in the rain amid a sea of national flags. “Victory to Chinese people. Beat the dogs.”

 Protesters outside Legco. Photo: Sam Tsang

They were referring to Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who last week pronounced China as “Chee-na” in their oaths, mimicking a derogatory Japanese pronunciation used during the second world war.

 Pro-establishment lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding having a word with “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick outside the chamber. Photo: David Wong

11.28 am – ‘We can’t let them insult China without an apology’

New People’s Party Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said she had had reservations about the walkout plan but decided to join after meeting with other pro-establishment lawmakers this morning.

“We can’t let them insult China without an apology,” she said.

 The pro-establishment camp walked out of Legco. Photo: Sam Tsang

Asked if the government’s legal action had hurt the separation of powers, the executive councillor said: “Hong Kong’s separation of powers is not as clear-cut as the American system. I don’t see any problem here.”

She added she had never heard of any government plan to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress.

11.15am – 19 minutes of chaos

Legco descended into chaos soon after the pro-establishment camp walked out from the chamber when the council meeting started at 11am.

As the camp staged a united front before reporters explaining their move, pan-democratic lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung stood before them in protest and hurled luncheon meat at them.

Members of both camps pointed fingers and shouted at each other for more than 10 minutes.

The meeting officially adjourned at 11.19am due to insufficient quorum. Localist lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang were not able to retake their oaths.

11.15am – ‘Let them be stupid’

Localist Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang came out from the chamber. “Let them be stupid,” he said. “I won’t apologise.”

Yau Wai-ching echoed his sentiment, saying she hoped the meeting could resume so she could retake the oath. “The pro-Beijing camp says they are anti-filibustering but now they abort the meeting,” she said. “You can now see who really betrays Hong Kong.”

 The chamber after the walkout. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

11.03am – Walkout carried out

As the pro-establishment lawmakers walk out of Legco, Gary Chan Hak-kan of the DAB asks the Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to ring the quorum bell after his colleague Wong Ting-Kwong is sworn in. By that time, Edward Yiu Chung-yim, representative of the architecture sector, had already been sworn in.

 Legislator Wong Ting-kong being sworn in. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

The localists have not taken their oaths.

10.54am – Pro-establishment camp walkout?

Pro-establishment lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-Chun speaks before the meeting: “I hope lawmakers will support my idea of staging a walkout if [the localists] do not apologise and swear in genuinely.”

He says he is lobbying for support.

Another lawmaker in the same camp hints that the camp planned to walk out after the first lawmaker, Wong Ting-kwong of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, is sworn in.

10.50am – ‘We’re just enforcing the law’

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung insisted the Leung administration, as the executive branch of Hong Kong, had the responsibility to implement the Basic Law. He quoted Article 104 of the city’s mini-constitution as saying that members of the Legislative Council must swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the SAR and China.

 Legco before the fireworks. Photo: Sam Tsang

He dismissed accusations that the move undermined the city’s separation of powers, arguing this was a constitutional and legal matter that needed to be resolved.

“If the views of the president of the Legislative Council differ from that of the executive branch, the most suitable way to handle the problem is to leave it to the courts,” Yuen added. “This is also a show of respect to the rule of law, and does not mean the executive branch disrespects the Legislative Council and its operation.”

10.10am – Separation of powers concern

Civic Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said he would raise an urgent question in the council meeting today regarding the government’s judicial review bid last night which he said had ruined the separation of powers.

Legco President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen is to decide whether to allow the question to be asked when the council meeting starts at 11am.

 Media cameras outside the Legislative Council chamber. Photo: David Wong

Meanwhile, pro-establishment lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok, representing the engineering sector, was elected as the chairman of the public works subcommittee, while pan-democrat Charles Mok, of the information technology sector, was uncontested as the deputy.

Watch: pro-independence lawmakers battle Hong Kong leader in court

9.45am – ‘You will see’

While the lawmakers elected without incident the new chairman and deputy of the establishment sub-committee – New People’s Party’s Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu – the atmosphere inside Legco was notably tense.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, who earlier called on his allies to stage a walkout in the council meeting unless the Youngspiration duo apologised for their behaviour, continued to make a last-ditch effort to lobby for the move.

 Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun before the meeting at Legco. Photo: David Wong

When asked if her camp would indeed walk out, Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business and Professionals Alliance told the Post: “You will see.”

If a quorum (35 lawmakers) cannot be met, the council meeting will be adjourned until next Wednesday.

There are 30 pro-democracy lawmakers in the legislature.

 Some of the protesters outside Legco in Tamar this morning. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

9.45am – Tension outside Legco

A large crowd has gathered outside the Legislative Council complex, protesting against the Youngspiration pair for being allowed to take the oath again.

The protesters, all from pro-Beijing groups and parties such as Justice Alliance and the Federation of Trade Unions, held banners and placards condemning the two localist legislators.

“Yau and Leung get out of China,” one placard read.

Various pro-establishment legislators, including Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong’s Wilson Or Chong-shing, Elizabeth Quat and Business and Professionals Alliance’s Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, went down to meet and speak with the ralliers.

“We will do all we can to stop them from taking the oath,” Leung told the protesters.

8-10am – Early radio commentary

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said someone had to execute Section 21 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, which states that anyone who “declines or neglects to take an oath duly requested” would be disqualified from entering office. She said the government had reached the end of its rope and had to go through with the judicial review.

Speaking on RTHK, Leung also claimed many people from the legal sector disagreed with Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen’s decision.

“So many lawyers provided their opinions, but [Leung] only listened to one piece of advice from his outsourced senior counsel,” she said.

But legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok slammed the government’s move as an abuse of the judicial process and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

While he also found the antics of Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching “very irresponsible”, their actions were only a political act and did not constitute a legal issue, he said on the same programme

 The Youngspiration pair arriving on Wednesday. Photo: David Wong

He added if the pair were not to be given another chance to take their oaths, then the other three who had their oaths invalidated – including pro-establishment lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong – should also be banned from swearing in again.

Calling in to the radio programme while heading back to the Legislative Council, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang said he found the possibility of Beijing interpreting the Basic Law “worrying”, but would not reveal what he or Yau would resort to when they were scheduled to take their oaths again in the chamber later today.

Localist lawmakers Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching will get a chance to retake their oaths today as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s administration failed to block them in an eleventh-hour application for a court injunction last night.

While the government will get another day in court to press on with an application for a judicial review of the Legco president’s decision to let them retake their oath, all eyes this morning will be on whether and how the Youngspiration pair will finally stay faithful to the vow required of them as duly elected members of Legco.

The government’s unprecedented move to legally challenge the legislature sent shock waves across political circles yesterday.

 The Youngspiration pair have drawn the ire of many over their modified oaths last week. Photo: Sam Tsang

The democratic camp and legal academics like Occupy movement leader Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun slammed the chief executive, claiming he was destroying the city’s separation of powers and being disrespectful of the Legco president’s constitutional responsibilities.

Pro-Beijing lawmakers like Priscilla Leung said the legal action was a “last resort” as the officials had no other ways to stop the unpatriotic duo from taking office.

There is also speculation that the government might take the chance to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress if it loses the judicial review bid later – a highly controversial move, if made, which would have huge implications for “one country, two systems”. Officials will be hard pressed by the politicians to explain their actions.

Includes videos:

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2029352/all-eyes-legco-hong-kong-localists-prepare-retake-oaths

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