Pro-Beijing camp goes all out to stop retaking of oaths by Hong Kong localist legislators who insulted China
Pro-establishment lawmakers pile pressure on Legislative Council president Andrew Leung to prevent Youngspiration’s Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching retaking their oaths
Pro-Beijing lawmakers are piling pressure on the head of Hong Kong’s legislature to impose an outright ban on swearing in two localists who insulted China, and have threatened to use “all possible means” – including another walkout – to get their way.
The pro-establishment camp said on Friday it was up to Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to decide how he could make use of rules and laws to reverse his own decision to allow the localist pair to retake their oaths, even though his lawyers had advised him to give them a second chance.
Also on Friday, Bar Association chairwoman Winnie Tam Wan-chi reflected Beijing’s worries about the impact of newly elected radical lawmakers on Legco operations. After leading a delegation to meet the director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, she revealed that Wang Guangya had called for “determined action” to be taken against “illegal conduct”.
While Wang did not comment directly on the oath-taking row, the pro-establishment camp called an urgent press conference on Friday night to announce their decision ahead of next Wednesday’s meeting when Youngspiration’s Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching are due to retake their oaths.
“I represent the camp to ask of the president: do not arrange for [the two] to take their oaths any more,” said Martin Liao Cheung-kong, convenor of the legislature’s pro-Beijing camp of lawmakers.
The president should not proceed when the court does not yet have a clear answer on the issue, Liao said, referring to the High Court’s decision to allow Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to seek a judicial review of the decision to give the pair a second chance.
“Society is angry about their words that humiliated China and the Chinese all over the world … They should be disqualified as lawmakers,” Liao added.
Many took offence at the pair’s first oaths, in which they pledged loyalty to “the Hong Kong nation” and pronounced China as “Chee-na”, which sounded like the derogatory “Shina” used by Japan during war time. The Legco president invalidated their vows.
On Tuesday, the government mounted a legal challenge to bar them from taking their oaths again. It won half the battle, losing its bid for an interim injunction against the president overseeing their oaths, while winning an application for a judicial review. A court hearing on the latter is scheduled for next month.
On Wednesday, right before the pair could be sworn in, the pro-establishment camp walked out of the chamber in protest, and the meeting had to be aborted due to an insufficient number of lawmakers being present.
According to Legco rules of procedure, oath-taking is the first item in the order of business. The Oaths and Declarations Ordinance says lawmakers should take their vows “as soon as possible”. It is not clear what Andrew Leung will do next.
In order to defer the oath-taking session, it is understood the pro-Beijing camp floated the idea of the president invoking rule no.92, which states that in any matter not provided for in the rules, the practice and procedure “may be decided by the president who may, if he thinks fit, be guided by the practice and procedure of other legislatures”.
With this, the camp would suggest the president lift the usual order of business based on the reason that the oath matter is in judicial process.