Disqualification of two picked legislators affirmed by HK High Court
Hong Kong's High Court disqualified two legislators-elect on Tuesday because they altered their oath of office and insulted the Chinese nation while being sworn in last month.
The ruling favored the Hong Kong government's legal opinion submitted to the court that the pair's oath-taking on Oct 12 had "no legal effect" under the Basic Law－Hong Kong's mini-constitution－or under the city's Oath and Declarations Ordinance.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying welcomed the judgment. He said the government will study the recent Basic Law interpretation by the National People's Congress Standing Committee and the court ruling, and consider future actions in accordance with law.
Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, president of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, said that within 21 days, the LegCo secretariat will officially publish that there are two vacancies arising from the disqualification and that a special election will be arranged by the Electoral Affairs Commission.
The decision is expected to draw to a close the public outrage over the pair's behavior, broadcast live, in which Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching deviated from the prescribed oath, added pro-independence terms such as "Hong Kong nation" and used derogatory language to insult the Chinese nation. They also displayed banners proclaiming "Hong Kong is not China".
Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung agreed with the government's view that Sixtus Leung and Yau "did not truthfully and faithfully intend to commit themselves" to uphold and abide by the Basic Law as the oath states, as they "objectively, clearly" did not recognize the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the importance of "one country".
The legal precedent from the city's Court of Final Appeal in 1999 states that "one country" is the foundation for the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under the People's Republic of China and of the city's constitutional model under the Basic Law.
Au stressed the authority of the interpretation by the Standing Committee of the NPC, the nation's top legislature, is binding on all Hong Kong courts.
Moreover, Au dismissed the argument made by the two separatist lawmakers-elect challenging the court's authority over matters concerning the legislature, and reiterated the Basic Law's "supreme" status in the city.
The High Court also ruled that the LegCo president had no power to arrange for the pair to take the oath again.