Four Hong Kong lawmakers unseated as Beijing moves to silence opposition

The decision, handed by China’s highest legislative physique, permits Hong Kong’s govt to expel elected lawmakers straight with out having to undergo the courts, doubtlessly permitting Beijing to train elevated management over the semi-autonomous territory.

Under the brand new ruling, lawmakers who’re deemed to promote or assist Hong Kong independence, or who refuse to acknowledge Beijing’s sovereignty over town will “immediately lose their qualifications,” the decision stated.

It additionally applies to elected lawmakers who “seek foreign forces to intervene in the affairs of Hong Kong, or who have endangered national security” and who “fail to uphold the Basic Law” — town’s mini structure — as properly as those that are deemed “not loyal to the legal requirements and conditions” of Hong Kong.

The 4 legislators, Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung, had been disqualified from town’s Legislative Council instantly following the ruling, the Hong Kong authorities stated. The 4 had been previously barred from working in now postponed legislative elections earlier this yr.

In a present of solidarity prematurely of the ruling on Monday, 19 pro-democracy lawmakers threatened to resign en masse if any of their members had been disqualified.

Kwok Ka-ki, a kind of disqualified, instructed Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK that it was a day to “remember and reflect on the fight for democracy.”

“Today, One Country, Two Systems no longer exists. Anyone who made this decision has to answer to history and every one of the Hong Kong people,” he stated, referring to the authorized framework that permits Hong Kong higher autonomy from the mainland.

China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) handed the decision following a gathering in Beijing on Monday. The transfer is a contemporary in a months lengthy clampdown on opposition and pro-democracy voices within the metropolis, following final yr’s anti-government protest motion.

China has denied encroaching on Hong Kong’s political freedoms.

“It is absolutely devastating,” stated Emily Lau, former chair for the Democratic Party and former Legislative Council member of the brand new decision. “We have procedures in the Basic Law if you want to kick out a legislator but they have just ignored all that … there’s no rule of law. It’s sending a very bad signal to Hong Kong and the world.”

Lau stated that the broad definition of latest ruling means it may very well be utilized to “almost half of the population” and that the one individuals who may now run for presidency can be those that would “kowtow to Beijing.”

RTHK beforehand reported that Beijing was looking for to unseat the lawmakers for violating Hong Kong’s Basic Law by filibustering conferences. Lau stated that she believed the Hong Kong authorities and the ruling Communist Party in Beijing had turn out to be fed up with the filibustering by pro-democracy lawmakers within the metropolis’s Legislative Council chamber.

In July, 12 pro-democracy candidates — together with the 4 that had been disqualified — had been barred from standing in now-postponed legislative elections on the grounds that they’d not uphold the Basic Law.

With reporting from Eric Cheung in Hong Kong.

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