Beijing sees ‘grave threat’ from Hong Kong activists
Beijing must intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute to deter advocates of independence for the city, China’s top legislative panel said, calling their actions a threat to national security.
The Standing Committee of China’s rubberstamp legislature, the National People’s Congress, said in a statement that Beijing could not afford to do nothing in the face of challenges in Hong Kong to China’s authority, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The dispute in Hong Kong centres on a provocative display of anti-China sentiment by two pro-independence lawmakers, Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching, at their swearing-in last month.
The legislative panel said the two Hong Kong lawmakers’ words and actions “posed a grave threat to national sovereignty and security”, Xinhua said.
If such a situation were to persist, the committee said, it would hurt the interests of Hong Kong’s residents and the country’s progress.
“The central government cannot sit idly and do nothing,” it said.
The statement followed discussions by the top legislative panel on issuing an interpretation of an article in Hong Kong’s constitution, known as the Basic Law, that covers oaths by lawmakers. Leung and Yau of the radical Youngspiration party altered their oaths to insert a disparaging Japanese term for China. Displaying a flag reading “Hong Kong is not China”, they vowed to defend the “Hong Kong nation”, Leung crossed his fingers while Yau used the swear language in her pledge.
Their oaths were ruled invalid but attempts at a do-over have resulted in mayhem in the legislature’s weekly sessions.