Paralysis and protests over Hong Kong Legco oaths as localist pair force their way into chamber in scenes of chaos
Mayhem again in Legco as Youngspiration pair barred from retaking their oaths barge into chamber flanked by pan-democrats, amid demonstrations outside
Hong Kong’s Legislative Council was thrown into tumult yet again on Wednesday with a meeting adjourned for the second time in three weeks, as two localist lawmakers barred from attending stormed into the chamber with the help of other pan-democrats.
As the finger-pointing between pan-democrats and pro-establishment legislators continued, Legco appeared on course for further paralysis for at least another week or two after the Youngspiration pair vowed to repeat their tactics at another meeting next Wednesday.
Watch: Legco oath-taking crisis continues as meeting adjourned amid chaos
The latest descent into chaos came a day after Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen made a dramatic U-turn to defer the second oaths of Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching – who used insulting language towards China in their initial swearing-in – pending a court ruling on a judicial review filed by the government. The administration earlier mounted an unprecedented legal challenge against the president’s initial decision to give the pair a second chance.
The Legco president also banned the duo from entering the chamber on Wednesday, to no avail.
Watch: Legco erupts into chaos as Youngspiration candidates enter chamber
As a feisty rally of more than 8,000 participants got under way outside against the duo’s antics, a dramatic showdown ensued inside as eight pan-democrats formed a human chain to escort the pair into the chamber.
“Convene the meeting now. Administer the oath following the law,” the pro-democracy lawmakers chanted.
Civic Passion’s Cheng Chung-tai left his seat amid the protest and refused to leave the chamber despite an order by Andrew Leung to do so.
Unable to control the situation, the Legco president announced an adjournment, shortly after a temporary suspension failed to force the pair, who sat stony-faced, to vacate their seats.
“I already announced the decision [on Tuesday] to delay the oath-taking process of the two lawmakers, and they have refused to leave even upon my order,” said Leung, who said he regretted the development. “I have no choice but to adjourn the meeting as order could not be restored.”
It was the second adjournment in just two weeks of the new Legco session since legislators were returned in elections last month. Last Wednesday, the pro-establishment camp staged a walkout to block the two localists from retaking their oaths, spurring Andrew Leung to abort the meeting due to a lack of quorum.
Both sides continued to blame each other on Wednesday for causing further delays to legislative affairs.
“We must not let the [Legco] president and the pro-establishment camp evade all legal bases in their deeds,” said Demosisto lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung.
Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said the chaos stemmed from the pro-establishment camp’s threat of a walkout. But New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee laid the blame on the pan-democrats.
“People might have different takes on the rules of procedure, but they should respect the final ruling of the president,” she said.
Ip also said she believed the meeting next Wednesday, which will be held a day before the Court of First Instance convenes its first hearing on the government’s application for a judicial review, would face the same fate.
Outside the legislature thousands of angry protesters, many belonging to groups in Hong Kong representing different Chinese cities and provinces, demanded the resignation of Sixtus Leung and Yau, who in their oaths referred to China as “Chee-na”, a variation of the derogatory term Shina used by Japan during the second world war.
Protest organiser Stanley Ng Chau-pei estimated more than 10,000 people came out.
“It showed many do not support Leung and Yau,” Ng, of the Federation of Trade Unions, said. “There is no place in Legco for those who insult Chinese people.”