Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has been dealt another heavy blow after four lawmakers were stripped of their seats on the city’s top legislative body for not showing their oath of office (and Beijing) the proper amount of “respect.”
Earlier this afternoon, a Hong Kong High Court removed pro-democracy lawmakers, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim, from the Legislative Council for not being “sincere” when pledging their allegiance to China. During the lawmakers’ oath-swearing ceremony last year, the four gave their own slightly-altered versions of the oath, which have now caused them to be removed from office.
Leung Kwok-hung brought a yellow umbrella on stage to recite his oath and tore up a copy of the “831 ruling,” a controversial Beijing white paper which provides the framework for how the city’s chief executive should be elected.
Before taking his oath, Nathan Law quoted Mahatma Gandhi, saying that “you can never imprison my mind.” Also, when reciting the words “People’s Republic of China,” he raised his intonation on the word “Republic” turning it into a question.
Lau Siu-lai took her oath in slow motion, reading one word every six seconds with the whole thing taking nearly 10 minutes.
Finally, Edward Yiu added an extra few lines to the oath, inserting the sentence: “I will uphold procedural justice in Hong Kong, fight for genuine universal suffrage and serve the city’s sustainable development.”
These four pro-democracy lawmakers join two others from the localist Youngspiration party who were barred from taking their seats on the legislature last November because of the way that they said their oaths with one referring to China as “Refucking of Chee-na” and doing so while wrapped in a blue flag reading: “Hong Kong is NOT China.” When a Hong Kong court did not immediately issue a ruling on the case, Beijing stepped in to provide its own “interpretation” of the territory’s laws.
The decision today sent shockwaves around the courtroom and the city. According to the SCMP, it means that the Legislative Council’s pro-democracy camp will no longer be able to filibuster bills brought forward by their pro-Beijing rivals, a massive blow to the movement’s power and influence.
[Images via HK01]
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