Disqualification ruling helps HK secure a better future
Earlier this month the High Court stripped Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim of their Legislative Council seats on the grounds that they failed to take the oath of office seriously and properly. This piece of news has excited people from all walks of life in the city. On one hand, the court ruling highlighted the sanctity of the Basic Law and the authority of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s (NPCSC) interpretation of the Basic Law, both being important parts of Hong Kong’s rule of law; on the other hand, the ruling has helped sweep away some unhealthy political developments in the city. This will help the special administrative region secure a better future.
Article 104 of the Basic Law clearly states: “When assuming office, the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”
Despite this clear and strict stipulation on oath-taking, some legislators had a habit of making petty actions during the oath-taking ceremony, supposedly to give out political messages. As a result, the solemnity of the oath has been greatly undermined. What is more, some legislators-elect even turned last year’s swearing-in ceremony into a personal political show, uttering derogatory phrases or words that insult their motherland publicly, inciting indignation among all Chinese in Hong Kong, on the Chinese mainland and even around the world. In the wake of the oathtaking farce, the NPCSC interpreted Article 104 of the Basic Law on Nov 17 last year, clarifying that an oath-taker must swear sincerely and solemnly, and must accurately and completely read out the oath prescribed by law.
Before the High Court issued its verdict on July 14, there was conjecture that two of the four had high odds of losing their LegCo seats while the other two might stand a chance of keeping their seats. However, it was not surprising to see all of them eventually had lost their LegCo seats. The TV clips clearly show they have violated the requirements for oath-taking. Even with the combined efforts of the experienced barristers Martin Lee Chu-ming, Johannes Chan Manmun, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Philip Dykes, the fact that the four legislators-elect were truly The author is the president of the Chinese Manufacturers’Association of Hong Kong.
But no matter how LegCo evolves, what ordinary citizens would like to see is an efficient and competent legislature, wherein people’s representatives can facilitate and monitor the lawful governance of the SAR government.
insincere and un-solemn with their oaths could not be changed. The court had reviewed every single word and action of the oath-takers before handing down its verdict, which is totally reasonable and impartial.
The “pan-democratic” camp is no doubt in a great bustle coping with the loss of four more legislative seats. The opposition camp has, so far, lost six seats in LegCo, substantially diminishing their influence in the legislature. As a result, it will be more difficult for them to hijack LegCo to obstruct government policies. For most Hong Kong people, the high court verdict is a welcome one. It has dealt a big blow to separatism and would help bring Hong Kong back to the correct track of development — both politically and economically.
The six vacancies left in LegCo will be filled with by-elections later. We can imagine they will be tough and fiercely contested, with both sides trying to gain more influence in the legislature. But no matter how LegCo evolves, what ordinary citizens would like to see is an efficient and competent legislature, wherein people’s representatives can facilitate and monitor the lawful governance of the SAR government. Lawmakers shouldn’t treat the place as a wrestling arena with filibustering tactics; instead, they ought to reduce internal friction as much as possible to make contributions to economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood.