Angry crowd demands Youngspiration oath pair quit Hong Kong Legco
Businessmen, politicians, and anti-Japanese occupation fighters join coachloads of angry protesters to decry China slurs in chamber
Thousands of protesters, politicians and community and business leaders occupied the public square outside the Legislative Council complex yesterday to condemn two Youngspiration lawmakers for anti-Chinese slurs during their members’ oaths.
Chinese flags and banners branding the pair “traitors” and “scum” fringed the pavements leading to the entrance of the Admiralty building. Coachloads of protesters – mostly old people – descended, while others flooded in from the nearby MTR station, waving placards with slogans demanding Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching be “thrown out of the Legco”.
The organisers – a group of 25 pro-Beijing parties and community and business groups calling itself the Anti-China-Insulting, Anti-Hong Kong Independence Alliance – said more than 10,000 people joined it. Police estimated the crowd peaked at 8,720.
During their Legco pledges on October 12, Leung and Yau swore allegiance to “the Hong Kong nation” and pronounced China as “Chee-na”, similar to the derogatory Shina used by the Japanese during wartime. Despite outcry, the pair refused to apologise.
Emotions remained high throughout yesterday’s rally as community leaders and politicians took turns to condemn the pair onstage. Among them was Hong Kong business magnate Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Holdings, who urged the crowds to “say no to these two young people”.
National People’s Congress delegate Maria Tam Wai-chu also addressed the protesters and said: “They were voted in by their voters, but did the voters expect them to say such derogatory things about the Chinese?”
Also there were 20 representatives of the former guerrilla squads East River Column and Kowloon Independent Brigade, that fought Japanese troops during the second world war.
Kevin Ng, in his 40s, a company driver whose grandfather was a squad member, said: “I think the two [localists] have gone too far. My grandfather fought for Hong Kong against the Japanese. I can’t allow anyone to use dirty words to insult Chinese and Hongkongers.”
Emerging from a sea of elderly protesters was former anti-Occupy student activist Ashley Tse Hiu-hung, 25, who said: “I came because I want to tell Leung and Yau that they can’t represent us young people.”
Alliance spokesman Stanley Ng Chau-pei said: “The huge turnout is solid proof of public discontent with Leung and Yau. They should be thrown out of Legco. There is no place in Legco for those who insult Chinese people.”
In the evening, 50 supporters of the Youngspiration lawmakers staged a sit-in outside Legco to denounce what they called a trampling on separation of powers.
A number of pan-democrats, including Nathan Law Kwun-chung, of Demosisto, and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick also turned up.
Among those in the audience was Hung Siu-fai, 21, a physics student from the University of Science and Technology. She expressed reservations about the pair’s behaviour during the oaths, but said: “What I can’t tolerate is the procedural violence of the pro-establishment camp.”
Additional reporting by Raymond Yeung and Peace Chiu