Oath tweaks oust Hong Kong law­mak­ers

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

AP/KIN CHE­UNG

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.

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