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Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 23:50

No reason why rebellious pair should stay in LegCo

By Holden Chow Ho-ding

Lawmaker Holden Chow argues that Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung’s blatant defiance of the law seems at odds with their eagerness to reap the benefits of being in the chamber.

Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang, the two newly elected Hong Kong legislators, deliberately used insulting language against Chinese people while taking their oaths in the Legislative Council chamber on Oct 12. Understandably, many people were furious and deeply offended by their disgraceful conduct. Despite the strong demand by the public for a sincere apology, the two refused and have not shown even a little remorse for what they did.

No reason why rebellious pair should stay in LegCo In light of such blatantly bad behavior together with the pair contravening the Basic Law and Section 21 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, we take the view that they ought not to be sworn in again, the reason being that upon request by the LegCo Secretariat to take the oath on the spot in accordance with the law, namely following the oath referred to in Schedule 2 in the ordinance, they dismissed such a request. It is therefore highly likely they have breached Section 21, to the effect that they have declined to take the oath in accordance with the law. Given that following their refusal to take the oaths in accordance with the law their oath taking has been completed, we take the view that the president of LegCo is not bound to administer their oaths again.

The consequence of breaching Section 21 is giving up their seats. There is a judicial review which will examine the legal status of their oaths administered by the secretariat. However, from a political perspective, it seems that the majority of Hong Kong people disagree with the outrageous conduct of Yau and Leung. It was never appropriate for them to retake the oath without showing any remorse, if not offering an apology. Their behavior has already caused an uproar in the community.

The pro-establishment camp had no choice but to stage a walkout to halt their oath-taking on Oct 19. These were very exceptional circumstances for us. If the pair did not acknowledge and uphold the Basic Law, as evidenced by their advocacy of “Hong Kong independence”, we can see no reason why they should still be members of the Legislative Council.

There are examples overseas that we can refer to. A good example is the case of Gerry Adams, who was the leader of the Sinn Fein party advocating Northern Irish independence. Adams ran for election to the British parliament. But after having won a seat, he was requested to take the oath and pledge allegiance to the Queen. However, he refused and decided to resign his seat straight away.

It seems to many people that a seat in parliament and financial remuneration was never the main concern of Adams. At least he demonstrated consistency, if not some integrity in this regard. In stark contrast, after their efforts to deny Hong Kong is part of China and also their Chinese national identity, Yau and Leung seem to be eager to acquire all benefits and remuneration arising from a seat in LegCo. What a double standard they have shown — if not outright hypocrisy.

The author is a legislative councilor and vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

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