Date
8 December 2016
CY Leung is trying every means to block the Youngspiration duo, purportedly to nip their pro-independence advocacy in the bud. Photo: HKEJ
CY Leung is trying every means to block the Youngspiration duo, purportedly to nip their pro-independence advocacy in the bud. Photo: HKEJ

Is CY manipulating the Basic Law interpretation saga?

It turns out CY Leung did not take his oath properly, so some people are saying he has been in office illegally.

This emerged after a video clip of the 2012 swearing-in ceremony went viral on Wednesday.

In it, Leung is shown uttering each word in the oath but leaving out the words “Hong Kong” at the end. The oath was taken before then Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Leung promised to be “held accountable to the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Special Administrative Region”.

By omitting the words “of Hong Kong”, he recited an incomplete oath and makes it invalid, according to critics.

Some internet users accused Leung of double standard amid his relentless effort to disqualify Youngspirations’ Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching for not reciting the oath properly.

The pro-independence duo used a derogatory term for China at their original oath taking. They have been prevented from retaking their oaths by two subsequent adjournments of the Legislative Council.  

Netizens cited the case of Wong Ting-kwong who also missed the words “Hong Kong” in his oath-taking but requested — and got — a retake.

These developments only served to highlight CY Leung’s determination to oust the localist pair, with the High Court having just started a hearing of a judicial review filed by CY against the original decision to allow the duo to take their oaths in the first instance.

At the same time, reports said the government had sought an interpretation of the Basic Law from Beijing to put the matter to rest once and for all.

(Editor’s note: The government denied the reports at the opening of the High Court hearing Thursday.) 

The news about a Basic Law interpretation originated from the Hong Kong government, not from Beijing, at a time when reports were rife about Financial Secretary John Tsang getting ready to throw his hat in the ring and after retired judge Woo Kwok-hing declared his candidacy.

In fact, Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen, who is regarded as a Beijing loyalist, was opposed to the idea of Basic Law interpretation, arguing instead for the case to be settled in Hong Kong’s courts.

Interestingly, the chairman of the Chinese legislature’s law committee, Qiao Xiaoyang, said on Wednesday that he was “unsure” whether an interpretation of the mini constitution was forthcoming.

Some political observers see all this as a sign of a power struggle in the Communist Party leadership.

Analysts say Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress and the senior official responsible for Hong Kong affairs, supports CY Leung and Zhang Xiaoming, Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong, to take a harder line on Sixtus Leung and Yau.

As a result, Zhang agreed to the interpretation of the Basic Law, the same analysts say.

In a scathing commentary, the People’s Daily, the party’s flagship newspaper, called for the pair to be “seriously punished according to the law”.

It also criticised lawmakers from the opposition camp for helping them enter the Legislative Council without authorization.

The newspaper has published articles condemning the duo for the third time this week.

However, Hong Kong based pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Pao Daily reported that President Xi Jinping might not have agreed with Zhang.

What is going on behind the scenes? Why are central officials sending confused signals on the oath-taking saga?

It’s clear that CY Leung is trying every means to block the duo, purportedly to nip their pro-independence advocacy in the bud.

Or could he be sending his own message to Beijing about the need for a leader to stem the widening pro-independence movement?

We all know whom he has in mind for just such a leader.

– Contact us at [email protected]

SC/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter