Hong Kong Politics & Protest

‘Destroying rule of law’: Pro-democrats slam prospect of Beijing’s intervention in oath legal row

“The NPCSC’s interpretation will gravely destroy One Country-Two Systems and the foundations of the rule of law,” pro-democracy lawmakers wrote in an open letter to LegCo House Committee Chair Starry Lee Wai-king.

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Pan-democrats protest. Photo: HKFP.

In the letter co-signed by 26 pro-democracy lawmakers, they urged Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung to attend the House Committee meeting on Friday afternoon to address the issue.

They also urged the Department of Justice to explain the role of the SAR government in the controversy, including whether the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) consulted the Hong Kong government prior to their decision to interpret the city’s mini-constitution, and whether the Department of Justice explained the long-term consequences of the Basic Law interpretation.

Hong Kong’s ‘internal affair’

“The controversy sparked by the two lawmakers’ actions during the oath-taking ceremony is an internal affair of Hong Kong, and should be addressed by Hong Kong courts according to the Basic Law and Hong Kong laws,” the letter said.

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LegCo President Andrew Leung and lawmaker Yau Wai-ching.

The Civil Human Rights Front called for a protest on Sunday at 3pm, starting at Southorn Stadium in Wanchai and ending at the Court of Final Appeal in Statue Square, Admiralty. Pro-democracy lawmakers have urged Hongkongers to attend the protest.

‘Extremely inappropriate’

“The NPCSC interpretation would be extremely inappropriate in terms of timing,” Dennis Kwok Wing-hang of the Civic Party said, “We should just allow the judicial review proceedings to take its natural course.”

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Dennis Kwok Wing-hang. Photo: SocRec screenshot.

Kwok also said on behalf of the legal profession that “that there is no need, absolutely no need, for any interpretation.” He said that Article 104 is clear and straightforward: “we don’t see any room for interpretation.”

Article 104 of the Basic Law states that lawmakers must “swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”

“NPCSC’s decision to interpret the Basic Law is purely a political act,” Kwok said. He made clear that the NPCSC has no right amend the wording of the article, nor should they add to the article. “This is beyond their right… and beyond the boundaries of the Basic Law,” Kwok said. “If that is how they would interpret the Basic Law, then does the court have to follow? I do not think so.”

Kwok also organised a protest on the coming Tuesday in the form of a silent march from the High Court to the Court of Final Appeal, beginning at 5:30pm. Attendees are asked to dress in black.

The oaths Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang and Yau Wai-ching took in the legislature last month were deemed derogatory and an insult to China by some, triggering a legal challenge by the government. On Friday, Beijing made preparations to interpret sections of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, related to pledging loyalty to China.

'Destroying rule of law': Pro-democrats slam prospect of Beijing's intervention in oath legal row