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Saturday, October 15, 2016, 00:50

Liaison Office in HK condemns antics of localist lawmakers

By Luis Liu and Li Yinze
Liaison Office in HK condemns antics of localist lawmakers

Residents protest outside the Department of Justice in Central on Friday to condemn localist lawmakers who used insulting language during the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. They urged the Department of Justice to investigate the alleged false declarations made by localist lawmakers. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

HONG KONG - The central government’s Liaison Office in the city expressed indignation against the localist lawmakers-elect, who have staged antics during the oath-taking process of the new-term Legislative Council, and strongly condemned their behavior.

A spokesman for the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR told Xinhua News Agency on Friday these lawmakers violated the national Constitution and the Basic Law when they displayed pro-independence slogans during the swearing-in ceremony.

These lawmakers violated the national Constitution and the Basic Law when they displayed pro-independence slogans during the swearing-in ceremony

a spokesman for the central govt's Liaison Office in HK

He stressed that their insulting language was an affront to the nation’s dignity. It had greatly hurt the feelings of all Chinese people around the world, including Hong Kong residents, the spokesman added.

He said the Liaison Office noted that people from all walks of life in the SAR were expressing their disapproval and anger at these lawmakers through various channels. This showed that Hong Kong will never tolerate a few people propagating separatist ideas and trampling on the rule of law.

Residents and social organizations in the SAR urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch prosecutions against localist lawmakers-elect.

This followed an online signature campaign condemning one of the lawmaker-elect YauWai-ching for her anti-China behavior. More than 50,000 web users had signed for the campaign as of Friday.

Local concern group Defend Hong Kong Campaign (DHKC) led a march to the office of the DOJ in Central, urging the department to institute prosecutions against the relevant lawmakers for possible violation of laws against making false declarations.

All lawmakers had pledged to uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in signing the application form when registering as candidates to run in the Legislative Council election in early September.

However, some failed to live up to their promises when they chose to insult the country and advocate separatist ideas when taking the oath to assume office on Wednesday, Convener of DHKC Po Chun-chung told China Daily.

During the oath-taking ceremony, Yau Wai-ching used foul language and offensive expressions when saying "the People's Republic of China". She also changed the oath text of "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” to “Hong Kong nation”.

"The rule of law will be undermined if the authoritiesdon’t take action to exercise their legal responsibility,” Po said.

Secretary General of the LegCo Secretariat Kenneth Chen Wei-on decided that Edward Yiu Chung-yim, Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and YauWai-ching took invalid oaths because they altered the text, used items and added phrases to advocate separatism and used offensive words to demean the country.

The city’s largest political party –the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) - agreed. In a statement on Friday, the DAB urged authorities to carry out a thorough investigation of the behavior of relevant lawmakers-elect at the ceremony on whether certain conduct violated the law.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on the same day also condemned and expressed anger against certain lawmakers-elect.

"A legislator in Hong Kong could never avoid their responsibilities to uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR,” Leung said.

Joining him were the chairmen of all 18 district councils in the SAR, the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, the New Territories Association of Societies and a group of veterans who fought in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

Veteran political analyst and Basic Law researcher Song Sio-chong said these lawmakers-elect had violated the law in two aspects.

According to Article 104 of the Basic Law, when assuming office, a lawmaker must, in accordance with the law, swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR of the People's Republic of China.

Meanwhile, as lawmakers had all pledged to "uphold the Basic Law" in their application forms, defiant behavior which deviates from the oath may also violate Article 103 of the Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (Legislative Council) Regulation, in which a person who, in an election-related document, knowingly makes a false statement, will be liable to amaximum term of imprisonment for six months, Song noted.

Other articles may also be applied. Barrister and Chairman of the CA Legal Exchange Foundation Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok said in terms of honesty, according to the city's Crimes Ordinance, any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false statement in a statutory declaration is liable to a term of imprisonment for up to two years.

After an election, an elected lawmaker will be disqualified from office if he or she is in breach of oath by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the LegCo, Ma said. This is listed in Article 79 of the Basic Law.

luisliu@chinadailyhk.com

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