Rebel Hong Kong lawmakers challenge China in parliament
HONG Kong rebel lawmakers swore, shouted, banged drums and railed against “tyranny” yesterday when they took their oaths of office in the city’s parliament, as calls grow for a split from Beijing.
The chaotic first meeting of the new term of the Legislative Council (Legco) came after a vote last month saw victories for several lawmakers advocating more autonomy or even independence for Hong Kong.
The city is semi-autonomous under a “one country, two systems” deal sealed when Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.
The arrangement protects Hong Kong’s freedoms for 50 years, but there are increasing concerns those liberties are disappearing as Beijing tightens its grip.
Lawmakers are required to recite a short oath in Legco before they can officially take up their seats.
That oath declares repeatedly that Hong Kong is a “special administrative region” of China.
The government had warned lawmakers in advance they risked losing their seats if they did not take the oath properly.
Nathan Law, 23, Legco’s youngest lawmaker and a pro-democracy protest leader, delivered an impassioned speech ahead of taking the oath.
“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body – but you can never imprison my mind,” he said, quoting India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.
Two new pro-independence lawmakers, Baggio Leung and Yau Waiching, added their own words before the oath, pledging to serve the “Hong Kong nation”. –
Newly elected lawmaker Nathan Law (right) speaks despite the microphone being turned off after he took the Legislative Council Oath at the first meeting of the Sixth Legislative Council (Legco) in Hong Kong yesterday.