Legco meeting suspended as Hong Kong lawmaker asks for debate on Beijing’s Basic Law ruling
Ted Hui Chi-fang raised question, and president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen ordered him evicted
A meeting of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council was suspended on Wednesday – without the pair of localist lawmakers-elect at the heart of the oath saga – after a pan-democrat called for a debate on Beijing’s recent interpretation of the Basic Law.
The fifth Legco meeting of the new session started without the presence of pro-independence activists Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-Ching, who are facing disqualification from the lawmaking body. They did not try to barge into the chamber on Wednesday, but their attempts in previous weeks to attend meetings resulted in Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen calling early adjournments.
Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-Fung, who had arranged to pose the first oral question to the government, asked why the Legco president had declined to allow debate on Beijing’s rare interpretation of the Basic Law.
He was referring to the mainland’s top legislative panel on Monday laying down detailed rules on oath-taking for public office-holders. The announcement paved the way for Baggio Leung and Yau to be disqualified for using derogatory language towards China during their oaths last month.
Watch: Protest after Beijing bars lawmakers
The Legco president, saying Hui was going beyond his oral question and not following the rules, ordered security guards to evict him. Hui’s party colleagues and other pan-democrats rushed towards the lawmaker to ensure he would not be forcibly removed. Leung then suspended the meeting.
Wong Kwok-kin of the pro-establishment Federation of Trade Unions slammed Hui for his words disrupting the meeting. “The Democrats should teach the new lawmakers how we conduct our business,” he said. “We have rules to follow.”
Watch: Hong Kong’s leader supports Basic Law ruling
During the suspension, Democratic Party lawmakers gathered on the sidelines of the chamber and appeared to be speaking with security guards.
Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, convenor of the pan-democratic camp, was seen entering a door leading to the Legco president’s office.
After the 40-minute suspension, Leung resumed the meeting and announced it would be further postponed to 1pm Monday. The meeting is to be moved to a conference room above the main chamber.
Leung in recent weeks has relocated Legco meetings when lawmakers do not comply with his eviction orders.
Hui later explained he had posed the question to the Legco president because it was the first council meeting since the interpretation was issued.
To said Hui was essentially posing a question relating to Legco’s rules of procedures and that therefore he was not disrupting the meeting.
“If the president was a gentleman, he should have explained why he rejected my motion, which is an issue the whole world cares about,” To said.
“Is the president afraid a debate would affect the government? Is he trying to keep out all discussion of the interpretation from Legco’s official record? This is absurd,” he added.