Hong Kong backs China bid to bar rebel law­mak­ers

The Myanmar Times - - World -

HONG Kong’s leader said yes­ter­day he would “fully im­ple­ment” a rul­ing by Bei­jing which ef­fec­tively bars two elected pro-in­de­pen­dence law­mak­ers from the city’s leg­is­la­ture af­ter they de­lib­er­ately mis­read their oaths of of­fice.

It comes as fears grow that China is tight­en­ing its grip on the semi-au­ton­o­mous city with con­cerns that Hong Kong’s rule of law and court sys­tem are now un­der threat.

Bei­jing’s in­ter­ven­tion pre-empts a de­ci­sion by Hong Kong’s High Court into whether rebel law­mak­ers Bag­gio Le­ung and Yau Wai-ching should be dis­qual­i­fied from tak­ing up their seats. That court de­ci­sion is still pend­ing.

An oath that did not con­form to Hong Kong’s law “should be de­ter­mined to be in­valid, and can­not be re­taken”, the Com­mu­nist-con­trolled Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC) in Bei­jing said in a rare in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the city’s con­sti­tu­tion.

Hong Kong’s leader Le­ung Chun­y­ing said he and the city govern­ment would “im­ple­ment the in­ter­pre­ta­tion fully”.

“Any words or deeds that de­lib­er­ately con­tra­vene (the in­ter­pre­ta­tion’s) re­quire­ments, defy the pre­scribed oath-tak­ing pro­ce­dures, or even use the op­por­tu­nity to in­sult the coun­try and the Chi­nese peo­ple and ad­vo­cate ces­sa­tion, must be stopped in ac­cor­dance with the law,” Mr Le­ung said.

Hong Kong is a former Bri­tish colony which re­turned to Chi­nese rule in 1997 un­der a prom­ise of “one coun­try, two sys­tems” for 50 years.

But there are deep con­cerns those lib­er­ties, en­shrined in the city’s con­sti­tu­tion since 1997 known as the Ba­sic Law, are at risk, and mass protests two years ago de­manded greater democ­racy.

As frus­tra­tions build, an in­de­pen­dence move­ment de­mand­ing a split from Bei­jing has emerged.

Ms Yau and Mr Bag­gio in­cluded ex­ple­tives and deroga­tory terms in their oaths of of­fice last month, and draped them­selves in “Hong Kong is not China” flags.

They sought a sec­ond chance to take their oaths, but both the Hong Kong govern­ment and Bei­jing have stepped in to pre­vent that.

Bei­jing sees any talk of in­de­pen­dence as trea­sonous and the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency quoted a spokesman for the govern­ment’s Hong Kong and Ma­cao Af­fairs Of­fice wel­com­ing the rul­ing.

On Novem­ber 6, Hong Kong po­lice used pep­per spray to drive back hun­dreds of pro­test­ers an­gry at China’s de­ci­sion to in­ter­vene in the row.

In chaotic scenes rem­i­nis­cent of the demon­stra­tions of 2014, pro­test­ers charged metal fences set up by po­lice out­side China’s li­ai­son of­fice in the city.

Yes­ter­day’s an­nounce­ment was the fifth time since the han­dover, that China has in­ter­preted the Ba­sic Law as it sees fit. –

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