Hong Kong lawmakers must respect oath-taking ceremony

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 July, 2017, 5:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 July, 2017, 9:33pm

I am sure that many of your readers, like me, will have been shocked by the High Court’s unexpected verdict to announce the oaths taken by “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim as invalid. As a teenager, I truly understand the anger of my peers over this decision, but a number of points must be noted.

Firstly, we must all respect the court’s decision. The judge ruled on this case referring to the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance and also the National People’s Congress’ interpretation of the Basic Law.

In his verdict, he was in no doubt that these four people had not met all the requirements of the law. That left him with no choice but to make the judgments that he did, in accordance with the law. This is an example of the rule of law being respected in Hong Kong. Our judiciary is independent and professional. Being politically neutral, I disagree with the claim that the courts participated in so-called “political persecution”.

It is important to recognise that an oath-taking ceremony should always be taken seriously. Taking an oath is no different from pledging your responsibilities as a lawmaker to the voters.

An individual should never run for public office if he or she strongly disagrees with the oath they will have to take.

I was disappointed when some legislators began to see this solemn ceremony as a platform for political expression. By doing so, they set a bad example for younger generations to follow.

The government’s legal actions can act as a deterrent. This will send a message to future lawmakers that they will have to act in a mature fashion when taking the oath in the Legislative Council chamber. I hope most citizens will recognise that oath-taking is a solemn ceremony.

I also hope some members of the community will refrain from undermining the integrity of our independent judiciary, who are the pillars of our society.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay