Dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion rul­ing helps HK se­cure a bet­ter fu­ture

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.