Legislative Council oath-taking saga

Ousted pro-independence Hong Kong lawmakers to sit out Legco by-elections

The two see no point after city’s top court refused their bid to be reinstated

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 1:15pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 10:48pm

Two ousted pro-independence Hong Kong lawmakers said they would not contest the upcoming by-elections as they did not see the point of trying after the city’s top court refused their appeals.

The Court of Final Appeal on Friday rejected a final bid by Youngspiration members Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang to be reinstated in the Legislative Council. The decision halted their political careers and between them they now face a HK$12 million bill, mostly in legal fees.

Speaking on a radio programme on Monday, the two said they would not be candidates in the Legco by-elections to be held to fill their vacated seats.

“When the election results can be overruled, or even overruled before there are results, this is not an election that I acknowledge,” Leung said. “It is hard for me to persuade myself or others to participate in elections.”

Yau claimed that even if they returned to Legco they would not be able to advocate their belief in self-determination. She vowed not to compromise her principles to pursue a seat in the body.

The bottom line of the Communist Party keeps moving
Yau Wai-ching

After uploading a letter to social media on Saturday expressing remorse for “arrogance and rashness”, Yau clarified that her regret related to how her actions had affected her team and colleagues.

“I would not say I did wrong because I was disqualified,” she said. “The bottom line of the Communist Party keeps moving, as everyone knows.” She argued that Beijing had singled her and Leung out for who they are and what they advocate, using the oath-taking as pretext.

The ousted lawmaker described her actions during her swearing-in ceremony on October 12 last year as well-planned and coordinated.

She insisted these were not among the “wrongs” she referenced in her letter, which stated: “I must reflect on my wrongs in the past and keep going in a different role and position.”

The pair’s antics featured anti-China slogans and banners in the Legco chamber. They prompted Beijing to issue an interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, and make such offences punishable by disqualification.

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Leung said he and Yau had only erred in their political judgment.

“We were wrong in judging the tactics of our enemies,” he explained. “We overestimated the protection granted to Hong Kong by the legal system.”

Facing a HK$12 million bill, the pair said they would not engage in fundraising and instead urged the public to support other activists facing legal bids.

In the future, Leung added, they would support other “political prisoners”. Yau said she would work at the district level, including speaking up on matters before the Town Planning Board.