China warns new law­mak­ers not to back in­de­pen­dence

The Myanmar Times - - World -

BEI­JING has warned new Hong Kong law­mak­ers not to back in­de­pen­dence for the semi-au­ton­o­mous city af­ter young anti-China ac­tivists won seats for the first time in key week­end elec­tions.

The Septem­ber 4 vote saw young ac­tivists push­ing for more au­ton­omy from Bei­jing se­cure a cru­cial foothold in the city’s Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (LegCo), as fears grow that China is tight­en­ing its grip.

It was the first ma­jor poll since prodemoc­racy ral­lies in 2014 failed to win con­ces­sions on po­lit­i­cal re­form from Bei­jing.

Some stu­dent protest lead­ers were among those win­ning seats in the land­mark vote. Five can­di­dates ad­vo­cat­ing in­de­pen­dence or self-de­ter­mi­na­tion for Hong Kong are to sit in the 70-seat assem­bly.

In a state­ment, China said that it would not tol­er­ate any talk of in­de­pen­dence “in­side or out­side” the leg­is­la­ture.

“We firmly op­pose any ac­tiv­ity re­lat­ing to Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence in any form, in­side or out­side the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil, and firmly sup­port the Hong Kong govern­ment to im­pose pun­ish­ment in ac­cor­dance with the law,” state news agency Xin­hua cited a spokesper­son of the Hong Kong and Ma­cau Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil as say­ing.

It said some can­di­dates had used the elec­tion as a plat­form to “openly pro­mote” in­de­pen­dence, adding that went against China’s con­sti­tu­tion, as well as Hong Kong’s own mini-con­sti­tu­tion, known as the Ba­sic Law.

“This is against the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of all Hong Kong res­i­dents,” said the state­ment, which was posted on the web­site of the Hong Kong and Ma­cau Af­fairs Of­fice.

Anti-es­tab­lish­ment par­ties in­creased their share of the leg­is­la­ture, tak­ing 30 of 70 seats.

How­ever is al­most im­pos­si­ble for them to take a ma­jor­ity as 30 seats are ap­pointed by spe­cial-in­ter­est groups that tend to be pro-Bei­jing. –

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