Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that many people were “angry and disappointed” over the calamitous swearing-in session at the Legislative Council on Wednesday, after some lawmakers made controversial changes to their oaths.
“This seriously affects the feelings between Hong Kong and mainland people,” Leung told the press at the airport after returning from an official trip to China. “Aside from legal requirements, politically, people expect the incoming lawmakers to solemnly and practically express to society their responsibilities through their oaths.”
The responsibilities mentioned in the oath include upholding the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, and a pledge of loyalty to Hong Kong as a special administrative region of China.
“If they wish to be Hong Kong’s lawmakers, they must bear these responsibilities, this cannot be avoided by speaking evasively,” Leung said.
Leung did not name the lawmakers, but Youngspiration’s Sixtus Leung Chun-hang – also known as Baggio – and Yau Wai-ching both had their oaths rejected by the LegCo’s secretary-general.
Yau read the People’s Republic of China in the oath as “People’s re-fucking of Chee-na.” Leung also read China as “Chee-na,” which some deem a derogatory term.
But Yau and Leung both said in response that it was due to their English abilities. Leung claimed he had an Ap Lei Chau accent and would try to make improvements.
The government on Thursday has released a statement denouncing the behaviour of lawmakers.
The incoming legislators “behaved in violation of the dignity of expected of LegCo members, or even spoke or acted in an offensive manner that harmed the feelings of our compatriots,” it said.
The chairmen of 18 district councils issued a statement on Friday urging Leung and Yau apologise to all Chinese people globally, that they ignored the dignity of the country, insulted the nationals of China and hurt their feelings.
The statement criticised them as lacking integrity for “making up an excuse” claiming the pronunciation of China as “Chee-na” was due to their accents. It also questioned if the declaration they signed – which states that Hong Kong is a part of China – was valid, as they both brought in a flag reading “Hong Kong is not China.”
They urged the LegCo president to strictly follow the rules to ensure their oaths were in accordance with the legal requirements.
The pro-Beijing DAB party condemned Yau and Leung in a statement Thursday night for “damaging the dignity of the Legislative Council, and offending the entire Chinese population of which included Hongkongers” in their oaths, and demanded the pair retract what they have said and issue a public apology.
Meanwhile, several opposition camp lawmakers surrounded Starry Lee Wai-king, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, when she was chairing a meeting of the House Committee on Friday.
They were dissatisfied that she did not allow lawmakers to discuss the issue of lawmakers’ oath taking, claiming that the secretariat adopted different standards when administering different lawmakers’ oaths.
They also questioned pro-Beijing lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong, who missed words when reading the oath, saying that he should not have been allowed to vote on Wednesday to choose the president and chairs of committee of LegCo.
The pro-Beijing camp have also questioned the oaths taken by opposition lawmakers Lau Siu-lai and Nathan Law Kwun-chung. Kenneth Chen Wei-on, the secretary-general of LegCo, said the secretariat will have a written reply on the issue as soon as possible.