Thou­sands at­tend HK pro-Bei­jing rally

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THOU­SANDS of peo­ple at­tended a pro-Bei­jing rally in Hong Kong yes­ter­day in sup­port of China’s de­ci­sion to ef­fec­tively bar two pro-in­de­pen­dence leg­is­la­tors from tak­ing of­fice, as fears grow of the city’s freedoms be­ing un­der threat.

Bei­jing’s rul­ing last week pre­empted a de­ci­sion by the Hong Kong courts over whether law­mak­ers Bag­gio Le­ung and Yau Wai-ching should be dis­qual­i­fied from par­lia­ment af­ter de­lib­er­ately mis­read­ing their oaths of of­fice, in­sert­ing ex­ple­tives and drap­ing them­selves with “Hong Kong is not China” flags.

Bei­jing’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the city’s con­sti­tu­tion is­sued on Oc­to­ber 31 said that any oath taker who does not fol­low the pre­scribed word­ing of the oath, “or takes the oath in a man­ner which is not sin­cere or not solemn”, should be dis­qual­i­fied.

Yes­ter­day, rowdy crowds wav­ing Chi­nese flags sur­rounded the govern­ment’s head­quar­ters in a show of sup­port for Bei­jing’s un­prece­dented de­ci­sion, slammed by pro-democ­racy ac­tivists and le­gal ex­perts as a mas­sive blow to Hong Kong’s ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence.

Sup­port­ers chanted slo­gans such as “fight against Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence, sup­port the in­ter­pre­ta­tion” at the rally, which was at­tended by proBei­jing leg­is­la­tors.

“The cancer cells are those who are pro­mot­ing Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence ... We will fight them to the end,” law­maker Michael Tien told the crowd who cheered loudly in re­sponse.

“China will never, ever tol­er­ate the split­ting of the na­tion,” Mr Tien said.

An­other pro-China leg­is­la­tor who at­tended the rally, Priscilla Le­ung, said the law­mak­ers’ be­hav­iour at the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony “hu­mil­i­ated all of the Chi­nese peo­ple”.

Police said that 28,500 peo­ple at­tended the rally.

The Hong Kong High Court’s de­ci­sion into whether Mr Le­ung and Ms Yau should be dis­qual­i­fied is still pend­ing.

Hong Kong was handed back to China by Bri­tain in 1997 un­der a “one coun­try, two sys­tems” deal which pro­tects its freedoms for 50 years, but there are grow­ing con­cerns those lib­er­ties are dis­ap­pear­ing. –

Photo: AFP

Pro-Bei­jing demon­stra­tors gather out­side Hong Kong’s Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil on Novem­ber 13, protest­ing oath-tak­ing at­tempts by two law­mak­ers.

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