Now we know that Leung Chun-ying’s planned trip to Beijing to attend an economic conference was preempted by his judicial review in connection with Youngspirations’ Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching.
On Tuesday morning, Leung confirmed the reason he was no longer going on the trip but said he could not rule out seeking Beijing’s reinterpretation of the Basic Law to settle the matter once and for all.
It’s no coincidence that Beijing wants Leung Chun-ying to remain in Hong Kong while the case is heard, especially after several reports said the central government will issue its views on the matter, meaning reinterpret the Basic Law, on Thursday, the same day the High Court is scheduled to hear the petition.
Again, Leung told the media that the antics of the pro-independence Youngspirations pair had caused a “very bad effect” but did not say what he expects from the court ruling.
Leung has put in a lot of effort to fire up the case including orchestrating a protest by 10,000 Beijing loyalists outside Legco last week to condemn the duo for insulting Chinese people in their abortive swearing-in three weeks ago.
Leung has been working with his political allies, including Zhang Xiaoming, Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong, and the pro-Beijing media, to make a compelling High Court case.
A report in the overseas edition of People’s Daily, a Communist Party mouthpiece, accused Sixtus Leung and Yau of sedition and revolt and said they should be barred from taking their seats.
It called on the Department of Justice to pursue the case.
From a Hong Kong perspective, such interference in the affairs of its legal system invites contempt of court but there is no indication the judiciary is upset by it.
The real fireworks will come after Beijing has re-interpreted the Basic Law before the High Court has issued its ruling.
That no doubt will wipe out Hong Kong’s last heritage from the British colonial government.
Three weeks ago, the High Court rejected an injunction to stop the pair taking their oaths but granted leave to Leung and Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen to file a judicial review against the decision to allow them to take their oaths in the first place.
After having sought a judicial review, CY Leung now wants to bypass the High Court by going straight to Beijing to give its own views on the Basic Law.
The Basic Law prohibits anyone from taking their seats in Legco unless they are properly sworn in. Sixtus Leung and Yau uttered offensive language used by the Japanese during the war when referring to China.
It’s clear that Leung is using everything at his disposal to disqualify the pair for his own reasons.
Perhaps the most important is to show his abiding loyalty to Beijing given that he covets a second term as chief executive
And then there are the polls.
According to the latest survey by the Public Opinion Program of the University of Hong Kong, CY Leung’s popularity rating has risen markedly since early October when the oath-taking fiasco began.
His popularity rating is 39.2, up 2.6 points but still below the red line of 45.
The survey gave no reason for the increase but it was clear CY Leung’s actions regarding the Youngspiration duo won support from certain people, especially those who suffered under the Japanese
The poll shows that the older the interviewees, the higher the support for Leung.
That should be a shot in the arm for the embattled leader but his biggest victory may yet lie ahead — if Beijing vindicates him with a reinterpretation of the Basic Law.
That could freeze out Sixtus Leung and Yau but it does not mean the pro-independence movement will die.
Rather, it could fuel a fresh crop of separatist candidates as the two seats become the subject of a by-election next year.
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