IN response to a political dispute among Hong Kong lawmakers involving newly-elected pro-democracy lawmakers, China’s top legislative panel has said Beijing must intervene to deter advocates of independence for Hong Kong, calling such acts a threat to national security.
The state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported late on Saturday that the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress said Beijing could not afford to do nothing in the face of challenges in Hong Kong to China’s authority.
The legislative panel was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the pro-democracy lawmakers’ actions “posed a grave threat to national sovereignty and security”.
In October, the newly elected grassroots activists modified their oaths during the swearing-in ceremony, with one reciting the oath very slowly, and others pronouncing the word China as ‘Chee-na’, which is considered a derogatory term due to its use by the Japanese during World War II.
Two months later, two of the lawmakers – Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung of the Youngspiration party – rushed into a weekly meeting at the Legislative Council chamber in an attempt to retake their oaths.
The attempt turned into a scuffle between them, other pro-democracy lawmakers, and security guards. Starry Lee, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, criticized Yau and Leung, saying: “If [Yau and Leung] really care about the oath-taking, they shouldn’t have used the platform to promote Hong Kong independence to begin with.
“There is no room for the promotion of Hong Kong independence under the One Country, Two Systems framework,” she added.
The panel is discussing interpreting an article in Hong Kong’s constitution covering oaths taken by lawmakers.
Additional reporting by Associated Pres