The Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen has adjourned a Legco meeting today after the refusal of two newly-elected Youngspiration lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-Ching , to leave the chamber despite his asking them to do so.
Andrew Leung yesterday deferred today’s swearing-in of the two localists who insulted China in their initial oaths, and has said the administration of the oaths would be deferred until the Court of First Instance had ruled on the judicial review. The hearing is set for November 3.
He said it was a “painful but necessary” step to ban the duo from retaking their vows. His decision came hours after Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying warned of “far-reaching repercussions” on how Beijing viewed Hong Kong and its relations with the mainland if the matter was not “rectified”.
Andrew Leung said he had to consider his duty outlined in Article 72(2) of the Basic Law on the Legco president having the power to decide the council’s agenda.
Today, Baggio Leung walked out to the middle of the chamber to assert his right to take his oath. After Andrew Leung suspended the meeting on account of this disturbance and left the chamber, the pan-democratic lawmakers shouted after him “Leung Kwan-yin, shameful!”
The Legco president later entered the meeting hall again, but found that the Youngspiration duo had remained in their seats during the suspension of the meeting. Civic Passion’s Cheng Chung-tai then shouted at Andrew Leung and asked him why he was not allowing the duo to take their oaths. As a result, the lawmaker was asked to leave with the Youngspiration pair.
After security guards attempted and failed to force the trio out of the chamber, Andrew Leung called for the meeting to be adjourned because order could not be restored.
Sixtus Leung, upset that the Legco president adjourned the meeting, has called for a rally to be held in Admiralty at 6pm tonight. Yau believes that Andrew Leung has banned their oath-taking because of the pressure from the pro-Beijing camp.
Andrew Leung has denied succumbing to political pressure and denies contacting Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, saying that he “made different decisions at different times”.
This adjournment also means Democracy Groundwork’s Lau Siu-lai cannot retake her oath today. Although Legco secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on had validated Lau’s oath on October 12, Andrew Leung ruled last Tuesday that the she would need to be sworn in again. Lau was unable to declare her oath last Wednesday because there was a call for a quorum count and pro-government legislators had walked out and forced an end to the proceedings.
Outside of the chamber, voices criticising the pair grew louder as groups denouncing the Youngspiration pair demanded that they issue an apology for insulting China and the Chinese with their derogatory remarks in their initial oaths. During their first oath-taking, the duo pledged loyalty to “the Hong Kong nation” and pronounced China as “Chee-na”, similar to the derogatory phrase Shina used by Japan during wartime. The chief executive then mounted a court challenge to ban the duo from retaking their vows.
Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, criticised the Youngspiration duo for being “the initiator” of the adjournment. She accused the pro-democrats of encouraging the duo’s behaviour and of helping to escort them as they entered the meeting.
The pro-democracy camp has called for Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to resign.
“Andrew Leung is unfit to perform his role,” the camp’s convenor James To Kun-sun said. “The quorum was met, but he did not administer the oath [for the duo] in accordance with the law.”
In the face of the chaos, he did not know what to do but to adjourn the meeting. He has no basic competence to chair the meeting.”
Last week, the Legco president’s lawyer argued in court that banning the Youngspiration pair from retaking the oath would “seriously deprive them of constitutional rights”.
Johannes Chan Man-mun, a University of Hong Kong law professor, said it is at the discretion of the Legco president to postpone the taking of oaths for a reasonable length of time, but it should not be for too long as this is a matter of constitutional importance.