Three newly-elected Hong Kong lawmakers had their oaths rejected today during a ceremony at the Legislative Council, after the government warned that those who added defiant words or changed the official wording of the oath could lose their seats.
Non-affiliated lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim, representing the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector, was the first to have his oath rejected after stating he would “fight for genuine universal suffrage, and promote the city’s sustainable development”.
Legco’s secretary general Kenneth Chen Wai-on also invalidated the oaths of two other lawmakers, Youngspiration’s Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, as they wore or presented banners bearing the words: “Hong Kong is not China”. They swore allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” and added words of defiance, including “Chee-na” – the derogatory pronunciation of China used during Japanese occupation of the city.
Yau also mispronounced “People’s Republic of China” as “people’s re-f****** of Chee-na” three times in all three mentions of the phrase in the official oath. Both Leung and Yau stated they would “preserve, protect and defend” their fellow Hongkongers.
Using swear words was not new for Youngspiration’s Yau Wai-ching, who used a Cantonese slang term for sexual intercourse in a public forum on October 3. She said she would continue using so-called “dirty” words in Legislative Council meetings if needed.
According to Legco rules, the three localist lawmakers must take their oath again next week, and they were ineligible to vote for Legco’s president yesterday. Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, the Business and Professionals Alliance lawmaker, became the new Legco president after getting 38 votes
As Demosisto’s Nathan Law Kwun-chung ended his speech, he asked Chen why he was qualified to reject three localists’ oaths. “Which Legco rule says you have the power to stop them joining the presidential election?” he questioned.
Jonathan Man Ho-ching, solicitor and convener of Progressive Lawyers Group, told Young Post the Legco’s secretary general’s only has the power to attest oaths. “Secretary general Chen has no power to reject lawmakers’ oaths,” he said.
As the oath-taking ceremony concluded, pro-Beijing legislators condemned several localist legislators for departing from the official language of the swearing-in process.
Speaking to Young Post today, Dr Chung Kim-wah, a political scientist at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, called the localists’ move a “gimmick”.
“All eyes were on their declaration because they had already ‘promised’ they would add defiant words and wear attire related to Hong Kong independence. It’s a move to show these localists are brave enough to challenge the Legco rules and fight for the interests of their voters. But I’m sure they’ll adjust their oaths next week to avoid losing their seats,” said Chung.