Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Lawmaker Eddie Chu flies to UK to ‘investigate’ LegCo president nationality row

Lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has landed in London to “investigate” the controversy surrounding the nationality of newly-elected Legislative Council president Andrew Leung. Chu said he will visit Britain’s Home Office to urge the UK authorities to answer questions raised by the incident.

Chu, one of the lawmakers who questioned whether Leung had completed the process to renounce his British citizenship, boarded a Cathay Pacific flight from late Sunday night. He said he wished to find out more information about Leung’s renunciation of citizenship before he officially chairs the first LegCo meeting on Wednesday morning. According to the Basic Law, the city’s s mini-constitution, LegCo presidents must be Chinese citizens without the right of abode in any foreign countries.

“Because we can see in Hong Kong that we cannot get all of the information from him, from the government, or from the LegCo secretariat, I wish to raise a lot of questions with the UK and directly ask its Home Office,” he said in a pre-recorded video posted on his Facebook account on Monday.

Eddie Chu

Eddie Chu at the Hong Kong airport before boarding a flight to the UK. Photo: Facebook.

He also said he wished to connect with the media and the political sector in the UK to “find the truth behind the incident”.

A staff member at Chu’s LegCo office told HKFP that Chu is expected to arrive back in Hong Kong at around 8am on Wednesday to attend the LegCo meeting on that day.

Leung came under fire before his election as president last week after he – at first – declined to provide documents confirming that he had renounced his British citizenship.

Leung showed opposition lawmakers copies of two emails from the Home Office last Wednesday in an effort to convince them, but many remained unmoved as he was unable to present an official “declaration of renunciation” document, which lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching – also a former British citizen who gave up the nationality – said would be the proof they need.

Leung then showed the document that afternoon. The move surprised many as the document’s physical copy usually takes several days to arrive in Hong Kong from the UK. He was then elected as president by a 38-0 margin, as the opposition camp walked out of the election questioning its legality.

andrew-leung-document

Andrew Leung. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

In a press release on Monday, Chu’s office said the incident still raised questions, and there were several problems related to the Home Office’s handling of the matter.

“We think that the UK government under the Conservative Party, under pressure from Beijing, employed extreme efficiency and abnormal administrative means to ensure Andrew Leung could complete the procedure to give up his nationality in time,” it alleged.

“[They] practically intervened with the presidential election of Hong Kong’s legislature, affected the autonomy of Hong Kong’s legislature, and even violated the basic promise of Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

“Eddie Chu wishes the UK authorities will play a more neutral, fairer and more transparent role in any affairs or decisions that affect Hong Kong, and does not pander to Beijing,” it said.

He said he has written to UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd to request UK authorities to meet with him and release key information on the incident.

He also said he will host a news conference outside the UK’s Home Office at 8pm Hong Kong time.

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Lawmaker Eddie Chu flies to UK to 'investigate' LegCo president nationality row