Lawmakers sworn in amid protests in Legco
Seventy newly elected lawmakers were sworn in, amid protests by radical legislators, as the Legislative Council began its new four-year term on Wednesday morning.
The lawmakers took turns before Kenneth Chen Wei-on, secretary general of the Legco Secretariat, pledging their loyalty to the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong government.
After the swearing-in, the lawmakers re-elected veteran Beijing loyalist Tsang Yok-sing as Legco’s president, or speaker. He had been expected to win with ease since his backers in the pro-establishment camp hold almost two-thirds of the seats.
Tsang received 43 votes, beating challenger and Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit who had 27 votes.
Radical pro-democracy lawmakers tried to delay the voting, demanding Tsang reveal whether he was a member of the Chinese Communist Party.
Their demand was dismissed by Democratic Party leader Albert Ho Chun-yan, who said the issue had been discussed at a forum early this week and the candidates were not required to answer questions at Wednesday’s session.
Earlier, radical lawmakers had staged protests during the 90-minute swearing-in ceremony.
“Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, wearing a black T-shirt calling for the vindication of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, shouted slogans demanding universal suffrage in Hong Kong.
“End the one-party rule, give power back to the people,” he shouted.
People Power lawmaker Wong Yuk-man deliberately coughed to break up the flow of his loyalty pledge. “I pledged my allegiance to the people [cough] of China and Hong Kong [cough].”
Then he shouted slogans: “Down with the Hong Kong communist regime; down with [Chief Executive] Leung Chun-ying.”
His fellow party member Albert Chan Wai-yip carried a portrait of Dr Sun Yat-sen to mark the 102nd anniversary of the Wuchang Uprising on Wednesday, and shouted slogans calling for power to the people.
The Wuchang uprising was part of the 1911 revolution led by Sun. It eventually led to the founding of the Republic of China, ending more than 2,000 years of imperial rule.
Legco adjourned until its next meeting, scheduled for next Wednesday.