Chaos as sep­a­ratist law­mak­ers defy oath ban to spark more un­rest

The Myanmar Times - - World -

HONG Kong’s leg­is­la­ture was again re­duced to chaos yes­ter­day as po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions deepen over the swear­ing-in of two new law­mak­ers who ad­vo­cate a split from Bei­jing.

There are growing con­cerns in the semi-au­ton­o­mous city that China is tight­en­ing its grip, fu­elling an in­de­pen­dence move­ment.

In city­wide polls last month, a num­ber of new law­mak­ers ad­vo­cat­ing self-de­ter­mi­na­tion or in­de­pen­dence swept to vic­tory.

But new pro-in­de­pen­dence law­mak­ers Yau Wai-ching and Bag­gio Le­ung are yet to be sworn in to the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (Legco) – Hong Kong’s law­mak­ing body.

Their oath-tak­ing was put on hold and they were tem­po­rar­ily barred from meet­ings, pend­ing a ju­di­cial re­view into their first at­tempt at tak­ing the pledge two weeks ago.

At that cer­e­mony, they draped them­selves in “Hong Kong is not China” flags and al­tered the word­ing of their pledges, in­clud­ing deroga­tory terms and ex­ple­tives.

But yes­ter­day morn­ing they were bun­dled into the cham­ber through a me­dia scrum by sup­port­ive leg­is­la­tors de­mand­ing they be al­lowed to take their oath.

The pair ig­nored re­peated calls from pro-Bei­jing Legco pres­i­dent An­drew Le­ung for them to leave, with some pro-democ­racy law­mak­ers shout­ing for him to re­sign.

The ses­sion was aban­doned after around 30 min­utes.

New law­maker Nathan Law, who ad­vo­cates self-de­ter­mi­na­tion for Hong Kong, said that while he may not en­dorse the pair’s be­hav­iour when they first took their oaths, they should be al­lowed to sit as elected law­mak­ers.

Out­side the build­ing, thou­sands of pro-Bei­jing sup­port­ers waved China’s na­tional flag and called the pro-in­de­pen­dence law­mak­ers “scum”, hold­ing up photos of them pierced with darts.

Pro-Bei­jing law­mak­ers had again threat­ened to walk out this week if the two were al­lowed to re-take their oaths.

Hong Kong’s city leader and the jus­tice sec­re­tary also last week launched a le­gal bid to dis­qual­ify Ms Yau and Mr Bag­gio be­cause of their be­hav­iour dur­ing the first swear­ing-in ses­sion.

Mr Le­ung said he would de­fer Mr Bag­gio and Ms Yau’s oath-tak­ing un­til the ju­di­cial re­view is com­plete – it is due to start on Novem­ber 3, but could last months.

Un­til that time they would not be

able to en­ter the cham­ber, he said.

Pro-Bei­jing leg­is­la­tors sup­ported his de­ci­sion while crit­ics said he had caved in to pres­sure from the proChina camp. –

Newly elected law­mak­ers Yau Wai-ching ((cen­tre right) and Bag­gio Le­ung (cen­tre left) leave fol­low­ing a press con­fer­ence a after they were not al­lowed to take their Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil oaths in Hong Kong yes­ter­day.

Photo: AFP

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