CY Leung presses Legco president to resolve localists’ oaths controversy urgently, warns of ‘far-reaching repercussions’
Hong Kong leader does not rule out Beijing taking step to interpret Basic Law if Youngspiration duo allowed to be sworn into office
The leader of Hong Kong’s legislature should tackle the localists’ oath-taking issue urgently as a failure to do so would trigger “far-reaching repercussions” and “affect how China sees Hong Kong”, the city’s leader has warned.
Speaking ahead of a ruling on Tuesday by Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said it was “totally unacceptable” that the Youngspiration’s two lawmakers had insulted the country.
He urged the Legco leader to address the matter as soon as possible, saying it could have significant repercussions if not handled properly.
“A tossed stone could raise thousands of waves,” he said, invoking a Chinese idiom.
“It will affect how the central government sees Hong Kong and affect the relationship between the people in Hong Kong and on the mainland,” he added.
Asked whether the national legislature in Beijing would step in and interpret the Basic Law should the local courts rule the localists can have a second chance to take their oaths, Leung said he “very much hoped the matter could be rectified by Hong Kong itself”.
Leung stated that he as the special administrative region’s leader as well as the head of its executive branch had a say in the matter.
He also gave this comparison: “Imagine in a foreign parliament, if a member replaced ‘China’ with ‘Shina’ and inserted an English swear word when referring to ‘China’ and the parliamentary head and the government didn’t make a serious effort to correct it.”
“This would spark an international political storm,” he said.
The Legco president was due to rule later Tuesday whether Youngspiration’s Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching could retake their oaths at Wednesday’s council meeting.
In their first oath-taking two weeks ago, the duo pledged loyalty to “the Hong Kong nation” and pronounced China as “Chee-na”, similar to the derogatory “Shina” used by Japan during the second world war.
Their remarks led the chief executive to seek a last-minute interim injunction and a judicial review last week to ban the duo from retaking their oaths. The court did not grant the injunction but set a hearing for judicial review next month.
Watch: Hong Kong Legislative Council standoff over oaths
Just as the pair were set to re-read their oaths last week, Legco’s pro-establishment camp staged a walkout and caused the meeting to be aborted due to insufficient quorum.
The camp has threatened to repeat their action on Wednesday if the Legco president continues his plan to allow the pair to be sworn in.