Hong Kong Legco newcomer Yau Wai-ching faces legal challenge over election win as oath-taking criticism piles up
Local historians demand Youngspiration pair apologise to Hongkongers and Chinese around the world
Incoming lawmaker Yau Wai-ching faces a legal challenge against her election win, with a failed former Legislative Council candidate claiming her localist policies mean she can’t be considered a Chinese national and therefore shouldn’t sit in the city’s parliament.
Solicitor Dr Siu See-kong, who competed for a Legco seat several times but not this year, filed an application on Friday for a judicial review of Yau’s poll success.
Yau and her fellow Youngspiration lawmaker-elect Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang faced mounting criticism on Monday, as different groups called on them to apologise for their anti-China actions during their swearing-in last week.
The pair pronounced China as “Chee-na”, a variation of the derogatory “Shina” used by Japan during the second world war.
Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on invalidated their oaths. They are set to retake the pledge on Wednesday in front of new president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, along with architecture representative Edward Yiu Chung-yim, whose oath was also invalidated.
In the writ filed at the High Court, Siu said Yau had promoted Hong Kong independence, including unveiling a flag that read “Hong Kong is not China” in the Legco chamber.
Siu asked the court to seek an interpretation from China’s national legislature of the requirement to be a “Chinese national” to run in Legco elections.
Nominees in a geographical constituency must be a Chinese citizen; be a permanent resident of Hong Kong; and have no right of abode in any other country.
Yau was elected in the Kowloon West constituency in the September polls, and is a Hong Kong citizen.
But Siu argued that a person who called for the city’s independence would be essentially forgoing Chinese residency.
“[The lawsuit] deserves the attention of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress,” Siu said in the writ.
He asked the High Court to directly refer the matter to the city’s top court for onward passing to the national legislative body for its interpretation of the requirement. The lawyer also asked the court to declare Yau’s election win void.
Siu said he planned to run in any ensuing by-election, hence his only challenging Yau.
“If I can find one more person [to run together with me], I will also [challenge Leung],” Siu said.
He stood unsuccessfully as a candidate in a 2007 by-election and in the 2008 elections.
Apart from Yau, the Electoral Affairs Commission was named a co-defendant in the case. Baggio Leung was not.
Over a dozen adverts appeared in various local newspapers on Monday, slamming Leung and Yau, calling on them to apologise and resign.
One of the statements was issued by more than 200 historians and educators, including former chief curator of the Hong Kong History Museum Joseph Ting Sun-pao and Open University history professor Chiu Yu-lok.
They demanded the Youngspiration pair publicly apologise to all Hong Kong residents and Chinese around the world.
They also called on Leung and Yau to give up their seats in the legislature as well as their SAR passports if they do not recognise the city as part of China.
Lawmakers have oaths rejected
“Our predecessors sacrificed their youth and lives to rebuild an independent and prosperous country,” the statement read. “But unbelievably, some wildly arrogant and ignorant Hong Kong youngsters have used this historically derogatory term to describe China in the Legislative Council. They have publicly humiliated seven million Hong Kong Chinese and 1.3 billion mainland compatriots. This is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated!”
Among the other groups to have published statements in newspapers are the pro-Beijing Friends of Hong Kong Association, HKCPPCC (Provincial) Members Association, and Hong Kong delegates to the National People’s Congress.