Oath tweaks oust Hong Kong lawmakers
HONG KONG — A Hong Kong court on Friday disqualified four opposition lawmakers from office for turning their oath-taking into apparent protests against China, further entrenching the central government’s hold over the legislature.
A court in the Chinese territory ruled the four had not been sincere when they altered their oaths, and declared their seats vacant.
That followed the government’s successful move last year to disqualify two other lawmakers who used an anti-China slur as a form of protest while being sworn in.
The four lawmakers put their own spin on their oaths in various ways during the Oct. 12 ceremony. Nathan Law, a student activist who helped lead 2014 pro-democracy street protests, raised his tone when he came to mention the People’s Republic of China, making the words sound like a question.
In his ruling, Judge Thomas Au declared the oaths invalid because of “slow reading,” ”intentional intonation,” “repeated insertion of extra words” and the “use of props and theatrical conduct.”
The four had originally been allowed to retake their oaths, which were accepted, unlike the other two who were disqualified last year without a second chance.
Hong Kong lawmakers (from left) Nathan Law, Leung Kwokhung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu were disqualified Friday for protesting as they took their oaths of office last year.