Legislative Council of Hong Kong

A lesson for Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching: double standards and hypocrisy don’t win respect

Holden Chow says the pan-democrats are equally to blame for the chaos in Legco over the oath-taking fiasco, and the NPC’s interpretation was a justified and timely move towards a speedy solution

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 3:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 7:21pm

What disgraceful behaviour from Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching in their oath-taking, with the use of derogatory words insulting the Chinese people. People have been seriously offended by the two legislators-elect, who appear to have failed to take their oaths in accordance with the law.

Given the unprecedented, drastic and exceptional circumstances, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee stepped in to interpret Article 104 of the Basic Law, asserting the mandatory requirement of pledging allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR of the People’s Republic of China and upholding the Basic Law.

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As a member of the legal profession, I can understand why some fellow legal practitioners are reluctant to embrace such a decision. However, I equally believe that the central government has made a tough decision this time to settle the oath-taking dispute in an expedient way, thus ensuring the Legislative Council chamber can resume normal operations.

It’s time for Hong Kong pan-democrats to stand up and condemn localist lawmakers’ offensive behaviour

Thanks to the pan-democrats, who wrongfully helped to aid Yau and Leung, three Legco meetings in a row were brought to a halt. At the November 2 meeting, pan-democrats helped the Youngspiration pair resist security guards, and unfortunately a few guards were injured. If Yau and Leung are to be blamed for the saga, pan-democrats are equally responsible for the chaotic situation in Legco.

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Since the NPC delivered its interpretation, the Legco chamber has, at least in some ways, been able to resume functioning. Had there been no decision, we would still have been stuck in a deadlock.

Secondly, from the central government’s perspective, the saga has escalated to a national issue and is more about China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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Thus, the implication of simply condoning the provocative oath-taking misconduct goes against the very principle of upholding territorial sovereignty, not only over Hong Kong, but also other parts of China, and radicals advocating separatism in other areas of China might have followed suit. The central government had no choice but to take the initiative to reiterate its stance over the issue of separatism.

It is worth noting that, according to Article 158 of the Basic Law, the NPC has the right to interpret the mini constitution. In the Lau Kong-yung case judgment, delivered by the Court of Final Appeal in 1999, the court acknowledged the NPC’s general and unqualified power to interpret the Basic Law. This refutes opposition claims that the NPC interpretation of the Basic Law ruins Hong Kong’s rule of law.

Another interesting part of the saga was that Yau and Leung, despite their all-out efforts to deny Hong Kong being part of China and their Chinese national identity, seemed eager to acquire all the benefits and remuneration of their Legco position , from the Hong Kong SAR of the People’s Republic of China.

We should contrast this with the actions and beliefs of Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein in the UK, who advocated Irish independence. When Adams won a seat in Parliament, he was duly requested to take the oath and pledge allegiance to the Queen. Dismissing the United Kingdom, he refused to take the oath, and resigned his position straight away. Adams, who earned nothing from Parliament, would at least have earned the respect of constituents for his actions, whether or not they supported his political stance.

What sparks public repugnance for the two young localists here are their double standards and hypocrisy.

Holden Chow is a DAB legislator