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Hong Kong localism and independence

Hong Kong government to ‘follow up’ after court rules on whether to disqualify localist duo, CY Leung says

Chief executive declined to say whether administration would seek to remove other lawmakers for making ‘insincere’ oaths

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 11:39am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 11:41am

Hong Kong’s top official said the government would “follow up in accordance with the law” after the High Court ruled on Tuesday afternoon whether to disqualify two pro-independence lawmakers who used derogatory language to insult China during their oath-taking last month.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying declined to say whether the government would seek to disqualify other democratic lawmakers criticised by Beijing officials for being “insincere” when they swore into office last month. Several local residents and pro-Beijing activists have filed judicial reviews challenging the legality of 15 lawmakers’ oaths.

On October 12, Youngspiration duo Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching swore allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” and referred China as “Chee-na”, which is similar to a derogatory term used by the Japanese during the second world war.

This prompted Beijing’s top legislative body to issue a ruling last week that lawmakers who failed to take their oath “sincerely” would face instant disqualification.

Before his weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday morning, Leung Chun-ying was asked by the Post if he would challenge other democrat lawmakers’ oaths.

“Our principle is to work in accordance with law. After the court hands down its judgment today, we will follow up according to the judge’s verdict, as well as the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s interpretation,” he said, referring to Beijing’s ruling on November 7.

Asked if he would consider amending existing laws to safeguard national security, Leung said: “It is our responsibility to make our own national security law, but I don’t have any information to disclose at this stage.”

On Monday, former justice minister Elsie Leung Oi-sie said amendments could gradually be made to existing laws to enact Basic Law Article 23, which states that the city must make its own law to protect national security.

The chief executive was also asked if he was worried about facing a tough re-election bid. The latest opinion polls show he remains unpopular, and only two-thirds of those who nominated him four years ago are seeking to join the Election Committee, which will pick Hong Kong’s next leader.

Leung has not officially announced if he will seek re-election.

“We will make reference to different opinion polls, but now my top priority is to do my job well,” he said.