Ousted anti-China law­mak­ers make fi­nal ap­peal over ban

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Two ousted pro-in­de­pen­dence Hong Kong law­mak­ers yes­ter­day an­nounced they were mak­ing a fi­nal bid to over­turn a con­tro­ver­sial Bei­jing-linked ban pre­vent­ing them from tak­ing up their seats in par­lia­ment. Yau Wai-ching and Bag­gio Le­ung were elected in city­wide polls in Septem­ber but de­lib­er­ately mis­read their oaths of of­fice dur­ing their swear­ing-in cer­e­mony, in­sert­ing ex­ple­tives and drap­ing them­selves with “Hong Kong is not China” flags.

This prompted a rare in­ter­fer­ence by Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties. The pair were amongst a hand­ful of rebel can­di­dates who took seats for the first time af­ter the Septem­ber polls, ad­vo­cat­ing ei­ther in­de­pen­dence or self-de­ter­mi­na­tion for the south­ern Chi­nese city. The new move­ment sup­port­ing a pos­si­ble split from Bei­jing for the semi-au­ton­o­mous city has gained trac­tion as young pro-democ­racy cam­paign­ers grow in­creas­ingly frus­trated with a lack of po­lit­i­cal re­form.

Bei­jing took aim at the pair in a spe­cial “in­ter­pre­ta­tion” of the city’s con­sti­tu­tion in early Novem­ber that ef­fec­tively barred them from tak­ing up their seats be­cause of the way they took the oath. Fol­low­ing that de­ci­sion, Yau and Le­ung were dis­qual­i­fied by the city’s High Court in mid Novem­ber and lost an ap­peal to over­turn that ban later in the month.

Yes­ter­day the pair said they had filed ap­peal doc­u­ments with the city’s Court of Fi­nal Ap­peal, in hopes of set­ting a prece­dent for fu­ture elec­tions in Hong Kong. “It is shap­ing Hong Kong’s con­sti­tu­tional en­vi­ron­ment, and even the le­git­i­macy of Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil elec­tions hinge on this case,” Yau told AFP. The pair are still strug­gling to raise the funds to bring the case to the city’s high­est court. “We’re de­ter­mined to ap­peal be­cause we can’t stop at the Court of Ap­peal.

The im­pact this case will have on Hong Kong is too big.” Fol­low­ing Yau and Le­ung’s failed ap­peal last month, the gov­ern­ment launched another le­gal bid to un­seat an ad­di­tional four prodemoc­racy law­mak­ers for fail­ing to take their oaths prop­erly, in what the op­po­si­tion camp has called a witch hunt. Pro­ceed­ings against the four law­mak­ers are sched­uled to start in Fe­bru­ary. Thou­sands are ex­pected to join a rally on New Year’s Day call­ing for the gov­ern­ment to drop their bid to dis­qual­ify the four law­mak­ers and to press for uni­ver­sal suf­frage.

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