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Thursday, October 13, 2016, 21:15

Localist sparks online backlash over mangled oath

By Luis Liu

Localist sparks online backlash over mangled oath

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong public expressed their disappointment and anger on Thursday about the outrageous stunts staged by localist lawmakers-elect during their oath-taking ceremony at the first meeting of the new legislative term.

Tens of thousands of netizens signed an online signature campaign , in which they condemned lawmaker-elect Yau Wai-ching who used foul language when saying "the People's Republic of China". They urged her to apologize for the disrespect shown to Chinese people all over the world.

The Hong Kong government also issued a statement on Thursday condemning the derogatory words and conduct by some lawmakers-elect during the swearing-in. These hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and undermined the dignity of LegCo.

Scores of netizens have signed an online campaign condemning Yau Wai-ching for using foul language during her oath-taking

Among those who signed up, 95.2 percent condemned Yau's insulting language when she took the oath. Some 92 percent urged Yau to apologize and withdraw her words immediately. Some 56.3 percent urged the Legislative Council to disqualify Yau as a legislator.

The campaign was organized by a concern group advocating justice and rule of law in Hong Kong, which was founded in opposition to the illegal "Occupy Central" movement in 2014.

One of the netizens said Yau's conduct was "unimaginably low". "Even a pro-independent Catalonian parliament member would not insult the name of Spain despite historical conflicts. This is a scene that is hardly seen elsewhere in the world," the netizen said.

"You can choose not to be Chinese if you hate China that much. But please migrate to other places instead of living in Hong Kong and insulting your fellow compatriots," another netizen said.

A third one asked Yau to give up her Hong Kong residency as the name of "People's Republic of China" is printed on the back of her Hong Kong Identity Card.

Most people called her "shameless", that she had "crossed a line" and was "garbage".

Hong Kong government issued a statement on the same day condemning the "offensive language" used by some lawmakers during the swearing-in ceremony of LegCo members. It said such behavior had greatly hurt the feelings of Chinese people and damaged the integrity of the legislature.

Without naming the lawmakers, the government said the oath-taking process was not just to ensure compliance with the law, it was also a solemn promise lawmakers make to the entire community.

"Some behaved in violation of the dignity expected of LegCo members, or even spoke or acted in an offensive manner that harmed the feelings of our compatriots," the government said. "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government denounces such behavior," it stated.

LegCo members also voiced their anger over the issue. A group of lawmakers on Thursday urged new LegCo President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to clarify if any more legislators other than the three who were rejected by the LegCo Secretariat on Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony should retake their oath.

Leading the group of lawmakers was veteran LegCo member Priscilla Leung Mei-fun.

Leung said she felt there were others who hurt the solemnity of the occasion by adding "content" during the swearing-in. She referred to some opposition lawmakers who chanted slogans and performed other antics to express their political views.

Leung said she, along with some other legislators, could not accept some of the behavior during the oath-taking process.

The three rejected lawmakers-elect were Edward Yiu Chung-yim, Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching.

Priscilla Leung said she plans to file a complaint to the LegCo president and the council's secretariat over the behavior of relevant lawmakers.

On the same day, former LegCo president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said such conduct hurt Hong Kong’s international image.

He urged people to think about what the lawmakers had done and make their own judgments.

Other organizations also voiced their condemnation. Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions' President Lam Shuk-yee said a chaotic and nonfunctional legislature is definitely not a blessing for Hong Kong. She condemned such "derogatory behavior" and urged the LegCo president to take it seriously and deal with it.

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