Hong Kong court disqualifies two nation-insulting legislators-elect

Hong Kong, Nov 15 (IANS) Hong Kong’s High Court on Tuesday ruled that two legislators-elect, who used insulting language against the Chinese nation while taking their oaths last month, must be disqualified as lawmakers.

The ruling came after the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying filed a judicial review on October 18 against the decision by the President of the Legislative Council (LegCo) to give the pair a second chance to be sworn in, Xinhua news agency reported.

Justice Thomas Au ruled in favour of the SAR government, finding that the oaths purportedly taken by the two are invalid and void and have no legal effect.

The duo manifested a clear conduct to refuse, thus “decline”, to take the LegCo Oath, whether in form or in substance, as required under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (ODO), according to the verdict.

The two legislators-elect have been disqualified from assuming office and have vacated their seats as members of the LegCo since October 12, and are not entitled to act as members of the LegCo, the verdict said.

It said the office of member of the LegCo previously occupied by each of the two is now vacant.

The court also ruled that the president of LegCo has no power to re-administer or allow for re-administration of any future oath-taking by the two.

In addition, it barred the duo from claiming to be entitled and/or acting as members of the LegCo.

The two legislators-elect, Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, used derogatory language insulting the Chinese nation when reading out their oaths at a swearing-in ceremony on October 12. Yau also displayed a banner proclaiming “Hong Kong is not China”.

Their provocative behaviour has prompted the top legislature of the country, the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, to issue an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR on November 7, clarifying the implications and requirements of oath-taking by Hong Kong legislators-elect.

The ruling came amid a public outcry in and outside Hong Kong against the deliberately challenging behaviour of the two, as a joint signature drive to demand that they apologise and retract the insulting comments have so far gained support of over one million people online.

Meanwhile, an anti-independence rally in support of the NPC Standing Committee’s interpretation of the Basic Law held in Hong Kong last Sunday saw the participation of more than 40,000 people.