Law­mak­ers stage walkout to protest anti-China acts

Two sup­port­ers of HK in­de­pen­dence were urged to make a pub­lic apol­ogy and re­tract their pre­vi­ous re­marks

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By WILLAWUin Hong Kong willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Dozens of Hong Kong’s law­mak­ers launched a walkout at a Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, in protest against the anti-China an­tics of two separatist law­mak­ers-elect dur­ing a swear­ing-in cer­e­mony last week.

The group of law­mak­ers who joined the walkout de­manded the pair apol­o­gize and re­tract their re­marks be­fore they get a sec­ond chance to take the oath.

The group had ear­lier urged law­mak­ers-elect Yau Wai-ching and Six­tus Le­ung Chung-hang to apol­o­gize for their be­hav­ior dur­ing their swear­ing-in a week ago, say­ing it in­sulted China and Chi­nese around the world.

Yau and Le­ung re­fused to of­fer an apol­ogy, de­spite the pub­lic con­demn­ing their act of us­ing of­fen­sive lan­guage and read­ing the coun­try’s name as “Shina”, a deroga­tory ref­er­ence to China used by Ja­panese mil­i­tarists dur­ing WorldWar II.

The meet­ing onWed­nes­day was sched­uled for five law­mak­er­sto re­take the oath, in­clud­ing Yau and Le­ung.

The meet­ing was ad­journed for a lack of quo­rum fol­low­ing the walkout. This left Yau, Le­ung and a third law­maker-elect, Lau Siu-lei, wait­ing for their turn to take the oath again.

Leg­is­la­tor Martin Liao Che­ung-kong said con­duct­ing the walkout was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to make, but added that there­was­noother­way to pre­vent Yau and Le­ung from tak­ing the oath again.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, chair­per­son of the New Peo­ple’s Party, urged Yau and Le­ung to make a pub­lic apol­ogy to all Chi­nese and re­tract their pre­vi­ous re­marks.

Sev­eral groups protested out­side the LegCo Com­plex on Wed­nes­day morn­ing against the pair re­tak­ing the oath. The pro­test­ers held ban­ners and plac­ards read­ing: “Strongly con­demn Yau and Le­ung”, “Apol­o­gize to Chi­nese” and “Yau and Le­ung get out of China”.

Hong Kong-born and raised Fung Suk-ying, a mid­dle-age woman who joined the protest with seven friends, asked: “How can some­one who is a separatist be­come a law­maker?”

The pair’s be­hav­ior has drawn in­dig­na­tion from Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties over­seas. A joint state­ment by 152 over­seas Chi­nese groups in the UK con­demned the two law­mak­ers, say­ing that their ad­vo­cacy of sep­a­ratism has jeop­ar­dized na­tional sovereignty, hurt the rule of law and un­der­mined Hong Kong’s pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity. They de­manded apolo­gies and that the pair be barred from pub­lic of­fice.

Hong Kong his­to­rian Chiu Yu-lok, who ini­ti­ated a sig­na­ture cam­paign with hun­dreds of aca­demics to de­nounce the pair, told China Daily they had set a bad ex­am­ple for so­ci­ety.

Chiu said the pub­lic’s faith in in­tegrity and re­spon­si­bil­ity will fal­ter if law­mak­ers think they can treat a swear­ing-in cer­e­mony like they did. So­ci­ety will not let them get away with this, he added.

He said it also showed that young peo­ple in Hong Kong need to change their ideas about na­tion­al­ity and history. To achieve this, Chi­nese history should be manda­tory in Hong Kong schools, Chiu said.

TheHigh Court on Tues­day ac­cepted the Hong Kong govern­ment’s ju­di­cial re­view against giv­ing Yau and Le­ung a sec­ond chance to be sworn in. The De­part­ment of Jus­tice ar­gued that Yau and Le­ung had al­ready “de­clined or ne­glected” to take the LegCo oath on Oct 12. The case will be heard on Nov 3.

ROY LIU /CHINA DAILY

Res­i­dents hold plac­ards and shout slo­gans out­side the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil in Hong Kong on Wed­nes­day to protest the re­tak­ing of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil oath by law­mak­ers-elect Yau Wai-ching and Six­tus Le­ung Chung-hang.

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