Hong Kong: Lawmakers who insulted China blocked from taking oaths

Story highlights

  • The lawmakers' original oaths were refused after they staged protests during the ceremony
  • Government gets judicial review next month

Hong Kong (CNN)There were chaotic scenes in Hong Kong's parliament Wednesday as pro-Beijing lawmakers staged a walkout to block two controversial new members from taking their oaths of office.

Pro-Hong Kong independence party Youngspiration's Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung were due to retake their oaths of office on Wednesday after their initial attempts were deemed unacceptable.
    Both Yau and Leung misspoke during their first attempt, as part of a curse-laden protest last week.
    The walk out came less than a day after a High Court judge refused the government's request for a last-minute injunction to prevent the swearing-in from taking place, but granted officials' right to seek judicial review of the matter next month.
    Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching speak to the press after a court hearing Tuesday.

    Walkout

    Pro-Beijing lawmakers, who had vociferously criticized the Youngspiration pair all week and called for them to apologize, took matters into their own hands on Wednesday. They exited the Legislative Council chamber en masse, leaving the swearing-in without a quorum and unable to proceed.
    Council President Andrew Leung adjourned the meeting after 15 minutes, meaning the two lawmakers will have to wait until next week, at the earliest, to retake their oaths of office.
    Yau told CNN she had hoped to complete the oath taking today, and blamed pro-Beijing lawmakers for "letting their electorate down" by going against their previous condemnations of filibustering and protests within the legislature.
    Sixtus Leung maintained that the pair would not apologize for their original oath taking.
    Veteran pro-democracy lawmaker "Long hair" Leung Kwok-hung compared forcing the pair to apologize before retaking the oath to "political tests" during the Cultural Revolution.
    In a Facebook Live, pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow accused the Youngspiration pair of insulting "hundreds of thousands" of people with their protest, and said the walkout was appropriate in an "emergency situation."

    Swearing in

    In her initial oath, Yau described the city as the "Hong Kong special administrative region of the People's Re-f**k-ing of Chee-na," and displayed a flag reading "Hong Kong is not China."
    Leung also seemed to say "Chee-na" during his speech, which some commentators have said was a reference to a derogatory term used in Japan during World War II. Both denied using the term.
    Legislative Council President Andrew Leung had agreed to allow the lawmakers to retake their oaths, along with three others whose oaths were deemed to have been ineffective.
    He joined the Youngspiration pair as a co-defendant in the judicial review case Tuesday.
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    Separation of powers

    The move by the administration to seek to overrule the legislative body sparked shock among the city's lawmakers.
    In a statement, Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok criticized the government's action for "severely damaging the separation of powers" stipulated in the city's constitution.
    He accused Hong Kong's chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, of "not only abusing the judicial process but disrespecting the legislature."
    The Democratic Party said Leung's actions showed a "total disrespect" for the Legislative Council, while Demosisto lawmaker Nathan Law, a former Umbrella Movement leader, said the lawsuit set a dangerous precedent for the future.
    Hong Kong's Department of Justice and Leung's office did not respond to requests for comment.