My Take

Disqualification of lawmakers shows up the hypocrisy of the pan-dems

The pan-dems talk about upholding the rule of law and the judiciary, but are happy to protest and cause chaos if a ruling goes against them

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 July, 2017, 1:36am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 July, 2017, 1:36am

The need to protect the rule of law and an independent judiciary has been a major pan-democratic cause. But now that a High Court case has turned against four pan-democratic legislators, it’s odd that they and their allies feel not the slightest shame in denouncing and disobeying the judgment.

Do they only respect court rulings that turn their way?

“Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim have been disqualified as lawmakers for breaching oath-taking laws during their swearing-in ceremony at the Legislative Council last October. The Court of First Instance ruling also bars them from identifying themselves as lawmakers and from attending Legco meetings. They and their allies have denounced the court case – launched by the previous administration of Leung Chun-ying – as “a declaration of war”. They have also warned the ruling will set a precedent on how public oaths need to be taken.

I don’t get it. If people don’t want to swear by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, by China and/or by the Basic Law, they shouldn’t run for public office.

Aided and abetted by their colleagues from People Power, the Civic Party, the Democratic Party, the Labour Party and other localists, the four tried to force their way into a Legco finance committee meeting at the weekend. Their colleagues then crashed the meeting, which would have approved HK$3.6 billion in new annual funding for education, covering kindergarten to university. This kind of mindless temper tantrum has become routine among pan-dems in Legco. Perhaps they should play by the rules which they claim to uphold.

Hong Kong pan-democrats slam disqualification ruling, accuse government of ‘rewriting election results’

The four are set to appeal the court decision; they may get lucky. More importantly, they should look on the by-elections for their vacated seats as a de facto referendum.

“Long Hair” knows all about this. In 2010, he was among five pan-democrats who resigned from Legco and then won back their seats in by-elections. While he won’t be able to run again, pan-democrats will try to win back six seats – four from the latest court case and those of two others, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who were disqualified in an earlier judgment.

If they win most or all the seats back, the pan-dems can legitimately claim an unassailable mandate. But if they lose, well, no doubt they will cause more chaos, in Legco and out.