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unanimous ruling effectively banning pro-independence lawmakers from Hong Kong legislature

unanimous ruling effectively banning pro-independence lawmakers from Hong Kong legislature

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC)  voted on and passed The NPCSC’s interpretation of the Basic Law Article 104 of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with unanimous support on Monday morning.

The announcement marks the fifth time since the 1997 handover that Beijing has interpreted Hong Kong‘s mini-constitution. Article 104 stipulates: “When assuming office, the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”

Details of the ruling remain unclear. However, lawmaker Martin Liao Cheung-kong, also an NPC member, said the interpretation will say the oath administrator, the Legislative Council’s secretary-general, will have the power to decide if an oath is valid. He said lawmakers may not be able to retake their oaths if they did not take it solemnly.

“I do not think this time that the boundary [of power] of the NPC interpretation was crossed,” he said.

Liao said it was better to have the interpretation before the court ruling, so that the court can follow the interpretation in the ruling.

As per Article 158(1) of the Basic Law, the NPCSC’s opinions are final and binding.

Basic Law committee chair Li Fei told reporters that some “lawmaker-elects” did not take their oaths solemnly but used the ceremony to act against the Basic Law.

He said some insulted the country at the swearing-in ceremony. “The ugly act… attracted strong condemnation from Chinese people worldwide,” he said. “It will strongly hurt the country’s unity and interests if it is not dealt with seriously,” he claimed.

The oaths which democratically-elected Youngspiration lawmakers Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang and Yau Wai-ching took in the legislature last month were deemed derogatory and an insult to China by some. Their actions triggered a legal challenge by the government and a ruling from Beijing. In an unprecedented move, the interpretation came before any judgement was passed in an ongoing lawsuit.

Thousands protested ahead of the ruling on Sunday, saying Beijing’s move amounts to interference in the city’s judiciary. Violent scenes erupted as some protesters proceeded to the China Liaison Office in Sheung Wan. Police deployed pepper spray and made four arrests.
  • 07 November 2016
  • Visited: 554
  • News ID: 3848
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