Court of Ap­peal deals heavy blow to sep­a­ratism in HK

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

The Court of Ap­peal of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion has dis­missed an ap­peal by two young peo­ple elected to be law­mak­ers against an ear­lier court rul­ing dis­qual­i­fy­ing them from tak­ing their seats in the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil be­cause they failed to take their oaths of of­fice. As the Court of Ap­peal stated in its ver­dict on Wed­nes­day, Six­tus Le­ung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, by what they did and said dur­ing their swear­ing-in, ef­fec­tively de­clined to take the LegCo oath as stip­u­lated by Ar­ti­cle 104 of the Ba­sic Law.

It sided with a judg­ment by the Court of First In­stance of the HKSAR early this month that found Le­ung and Yau were “deroga­tory and hu­mil­i­at­ing of the coun­try” and were ad­vo­cat­ing Hong Kong’s in­de­pen­dence.

By chal­leng­ing the Ba­sic Law, lo­cal laws and in­tegrity of the Chi­nese na­tion with their dis­rep­utable be­hav­ior while be­ing sworn in for LegCo, the two lead­ing mem­bers of a sep­a­ratist or­ga­ni­za­tion called “Youngspi­ra­tion” have shown their ac­tions are sat­is­fy­ing their own van­ity rather than seek­ing to gen­uinely ful­fill their roles to the ben­e­fit of all in the SAR.

Not only have they mis­judged the pre­vail­ing sen­ti­ment in the SAR, which is man­i­festly against their pro­fessed aim, they also clearly un­der­es­ti­mated the re­solve of the SAR gov­ern­ment to up­hold the rule of law in Hong Kong.

The re­cent in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Ba­sic Law by the na­tion’s top leg­is­la­ture, and the ju­di­cial re­view of the de­ci­sion by the pres­i­dent of LegCo to give the pair a sec­ond op­por­tu­nity to take the oath have re­in­forced the sanc­tity of law in the SAR.

Wed­nes­day’s rul­ing by the Court of Ap­peal makes it clear that it is the court’s re­spon­si­bil­ity, when asked, to de­ter­mine if those tak­ing the oath have ful­filled their duty by tak­ing it faith­fully.

Like the Court of First In­stance, the Court of Ap­peal has found there was no in­no­cent ex­pla­na­tion for what Le­ung and Yau did dur­ing their swear­ing-in. What they did, as the rul­ing makes clear, was done “de­lib­er­ately and in­ten­tion­ally”.

In so do­ing, the two not only failed them­selves and their sup­port­ers, they also failed in their duty to the peo­ple of Hong Kong who do not sup­port their aim but in­stead aspire for sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity.

And by rul­ing that law­mak­ers who do not sin­cerely swear al­le­giance to Hong Kong as an in­te­gral part of China are in vi­o­la­tion of the Ba­sic Law and there­fore dis­qual­i­fied, the courts have up­held the prin­ci­ple of “One Coun­try, Two Sys­tems”.

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