Hong Kong lawmaker promises more extreme action after legislature rule changes curb filibustering
Eddie Chu decries amendments to Legco meeting procedures which he says strip allies of their power, and vows ‘all methods’ will be employed in future
Localist lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has vowed to take more extreme action to make his voice heard in Hong Kong’s legislature after the rules of the chamber were amended last week to curb filibustering despite strong opposition.
The city’s rival political camps were reviewing their strategies over the weekend after the Legislative Council on Friday passed 25 amendments to its rules of procedure proposed by the pro-establishment bloc and the house rules committee.
The changes included one requiring 35 instead of 20 lawmakers to support the setting up of any committee investigating government officials, and another that would require fewer lawmakers be present for certain types of Legco meetings to go ahead.
The other amendments were mainly aimed at curbing delaying tactics by opposition pan-democratic legislators, who have repeatedly called for quorum counts to ensure sufficient attendance in the chamber, made long speeches and submitted stacks of amendments, among other filibustering tools.
Pan-democrats have decried the amendments, saying they strip them of the power to impose checks and balances on the government.
Chu, the legislator for the New Territories West constituency, hit out at the pro-establishment camp for forcing them through.
“They took away the pan-democratic camp’s right to fight with words,” he told a television programme.
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“In the face of big dangers to Hongkongers in future, the pan-democrats will have to use all methods.”
When asked to elaborate on what that meant, Chu said the camp would need to take more extreme measures at crucial times.
Pan-democrats would not give up on Legco, he said, but he admitted that their progress in the legislature would depend on whether Hongkongers came out to reflect their views.
But Starry Lee Wai-king, another lawmaker and chairwoman of the largest pro-establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, disagreed with Chu, telling the same programme that pan-democrats still had unlimited opportunities to speak out.
Lee said filibustering would continue despite the rule amendments, but would be less severe.
During a heated exchange on the show, Lee accused the pan-democrats of stalling progress on less controversial issues such as medical reform.
Separately, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, leader of the Civic Party, a pan-democratic party that has five seats in Legco, said his organisation had not discussed its exact strategy going forward. But he said the general stance was to use reasoning as much as possible to advance their agenda despite recent events having made that difficult.
The highly charged Legco meeting on Friday saw 11 pan-democrats booted out for disrupting the debate. Chu was one of them. He chanted slogans about Legco becoming something akin to China’s national legislature and took out an iron chain with which he tried to tie himself to his chair. Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung set off a personal attack alarm before locking it in a drawer.