19 February 2019
Eddie Chu (above) on BBC says Andrew Leung's British passport should be elevated to a diplomatic matter. Photo: Facebook/Eddie Chu
Eddie Chu (above) on BBC says Andrew Leung's British passport should be elevated to a diplomatic matter. Photo: Facebook/Eddie Chu

Why are traditional democrats silent over Leung’s UK passport?

Controversy over the oaths of two young lawmakers-elect sucked most of the air out of last Wednesday’s first day of the new Legislative Council sittings.

By Tuesday, accusations that pro-independence Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung insulted China were still swirling around them.

Sure enough, there were calls for an apology from the pro-establishment camp and outright disqualification if they again fail to recite the prescribed oath of office on Wednesday.

What is fading fast, if not for the efforts of some opposition figures, is the question of whether newly elected Legco President Andrew Leung has the necessary qualification for the job.

The question revolves around his British passport, even after he claimed that he had renounced it and received a formal renunciation notice from the British government on Oct. 11, one day before he was elected Legco president.

The Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini constitution, bars anyone who holds a foreign passport or has right of abode in a foreign country from serving as Legco president.

Several online critics cannot believe the renunciation notice came so quickly that they think it might have been forged.

Some people who have undergone a similar process noted the absence of signature on a chop on the renunciation document.

Lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick went a step further by flying to London to investigate.

He has written to British Home Secretary Amber Rudd to request a meeting with the authorities who handled the matter.

And he has made an appearance on the BBC to convince it to elevate the story to the diplomatic level.

On Monday, Chu and Alex Chow, a former student leader now studying in London, protested outside the British Home Office to demand the government  give Hong Kong people the benefit of an official reply 

Chu suspects the British government might have been under pressure from China to speed up Andrew Leung’s renunciation process.

In any case, Britain may not be willing to make a complete disclosure on privacy grounds but Chu has made his point.

By challenging the facts, he dared Britain to take action and perhaps look into the matter and left Hong Kong people to make up their own minds.

It’s now clearer, for instance, how Leung’s presidency will be impacted if the details about his British renunciation don’t line up. 

Youngspiration’s Yau joined Chu in demanding answers from Britain but we have yet to hear what the Democratic Party and Civic Party have to say about the matter.

Their silence comes in stark contrast to their reaction to Yau’s and Sixtus Leung’s oath-taking theatrics and shows they treat one issue more seriously than the other.

Do these traditional democrats think that their walkout during the vote for Andrew Leung was enough to show their disapproval? That after the walkout, there is no need for further action regarding his citizenship?

Traditional democrats are losing support from the younger generation precisely for this kind of attitude to issues that are important to the rest of Hong Kong. 

They lack heart, so they and their pro-establishment rivals will let Andrew Leung have his way.

“Traditional” is the operative word that links them and Leung.

Clearly, Leung’s rise to the top of Legco shows how a traditional businessman-turned-lawmaker benefited from both sides.  

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EJ Insight writer

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