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
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 World War II.
The meeting on Wednesday was scheduled for five lawmakers-elect to 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 there was no other way 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.
The High 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.
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.