In Hong Kong leg­isla­tive coun­cil

> Barred pro-in­de­pen­dence reps barge into cham­ber

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s leg­is­la­ture de­scended into chaos yes­ter­day as two proin­de­pen­dence law­mak­ers de­fied a bar­ring order and barged into the cham­ber as democrats formed a hu­man chain around them, forc­ing the ses­sion to be ad­journed.

The pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese-ruled city’s leg­isla­tive coun­cil on Tues­day de­layed the swear­ing-in of Yau Wai-ching, 25, and Bag­gio Le­ung, 30, and tem­po­rar­ily banned them from at­tend­ing meet­ings, fol­low­ing weeks of pres­sure from fac­tions loyal to Beijing.

“If we lose this war ... our sys­tem is done for. We have no room to re­treat,” said Le­ung, tears welling in his eyes.

The pair, who rep­re­sent a new breed of more rad­i­cal ac­tivists mov­ing into the po­lit­i­cal main­stream, had their swear­ing-in oaths in­val­i­dated this month over lan­guage and a ban­ner that was deemed deroga­tory to China.

“Demo­crat­i­cally elected leg­is­la­tors need to take their oath,” the democrats shouted as they made their way to the meet­ing, while shield­ing Yau and Le­ung.

They called on coun­cil pres­i­dent An­drew Le­ung to step down, while Yau ac­cused him of “de­stroy­ing the dig­nity” of the coun­cil, where chaotic scenes erupted as the ses­sion de­scended into farce.

Thou­sands of pro-Beijing loy­al­ists ral­lied out­side the leg­is­la­ture to con­demn the pro-in­de­pen­dence law­mak­ers.

Wav­ing China’s na­tional flags, the pro­test­ers gave a thumbs-down sign as they shouted: “Against in­sult­ing China, against Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence, pro­tect na­tional dig­nity.”

The former Bri­tish colony of Hong Kong re­turned to Chi­nese rule in 1997 un­der the prin­ci­ple of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”.

Once a taboo topic, the is­sue of in­de­pen­dence has gained mo­men­tum since pro-democ­racy protests in late 2014.

The two law­mak­ers in­sisted they had the right to en­ter the cham­ber to re­take their oath of of­fice. Coun­cil rules state that mem­bers can­not at­tend meet­ings or vote be­fore they take the oath.

The coun­cil pres­i­dent said on Tues­day he would halt the pair’s swear­ing-in cer­e­mony un­til an un­prece­dented ju­di­cial re­view had been heard.

While the High Court last week­end al­lowed the ju­di­cial re­view to go ahead, it thwarted a late-night govern­ment push for an in­junc­tion to halt the swear­ing-in – a move ef­fec­tively over­turned by the coun­cil pres­i­dent. – Reuters

REUTERSPIX

Le­ung holds up a leg­isla­tive coun­cil book while stand­ing next to Yau upon their ar­rival at the leg­is­la­ture’s main cham­ber yes­ter­day.

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