Disqualified localist lawmaker tells Trump administration to ‘keep eyes on Hong Kong’
In CNN interview, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang says Beijing may put increasing pressure on city
A disqualified lawmaker has urged those in the Trump administration to “keep their eyes on Hong Kong” as Beijing tightens its grip on the city.
Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang made the appeal when asked by a CNN host about the impact Donald Trump’s election as US president would have on his campaign in Hong Kong.
“This may hurt the democratic movement in Hong Kong,” the pro-independence activist said.
“Maybe Beijing will put much more pressure on ... the mainlandisation of Hong Kong. But we hope the US government will still keep their eyes on Hong Kong.”
Leung and Yau Wai-ching have become the first two lawmakers disqualified by local courts over the oath-taking controversy. During their swearing-in ceremony last month, the duo pronounced the country’s name in a way that was deemed to be insulting to China and wore a banner that read “Hong Kong is not China”.
The government took out a lawsuit against the two, but just before the court ruling, the mainland’s top legislative panel issued an interpretation of the Basic Law, prescribing the manner of oath-taking. The intervention is widely seen as a blow to the city’s much-cherished judicial independence.
Subsequently the Hong Kong court disqualified the pair for breaching the law and having “declined” to take the oath. The judge said he would have arrived at the same conclusion with or without Beijing’s interpretation.
During the CNN programme, Leung also said Hongkongers should not “blame the victims”, when the host suggested that many would blame him for opening the door for Beijing to get involved in Hong Kong’s legislature.
He noted that if he and Yau lost their appeal against the court decision, other pan-democratic lawmakers who added words to their oaths might be affected.
Leung’s call to the US echoed one by Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a former student leader of the Umbrella Revolution. During his visit to the US this week, the 20-year-old activist urged president-elect Trump to support human rights in Hong Kong.
Wong was speaking at an event on Capitol Hill on November 17 organised by a congressional panel that monitored rights issues in China, according to an AP report.
“Being a businessman, I hope Donald Trump could know the dynamics in Hong Kong and know that to maintain the business sector benefits in Hong Kong, it’s necessary to fully support human rights in Hong Kong to maintain judicial independence and the rule of law,” Wong was quoted as saying.
Two Republican senators on Wednesday introduced legislation that would punish Hong Kong or mainland officials who suppressed basic freedoms in Hong Kong. But there is little time remaining in the current congressional session to achieve its passage into US law.
Wong is the secretary-general of the Demosisto party, which wants a referendum for self-determination on Hong Kong’s political future.