As many as 15 legislators may have failed to be officially sworn in on the basis of the Basic Law interpretation by the National People’s Congress.
Wang Zhenmin, legal chief of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, told a seminar in Shenzhen that only one lawmaker had flubbed the oath-taking since 2008 but the trend shows as many as 30 could fail in four years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Wang did not name the 15 but criticized them for turning the ceremony into a “show”.
Such acts are considered by Beijing a contravention of Article 104 of the Basic Law which states that all holders of public office must pledge loyalty to China and Hong Kong, uphold the constitution and recite the oath according to a prescribed manner and format, he said.
In its interpretation, the NPC Standing Committee also said a lawmaker-elect must take the oath sincerely and solemnly, as well as accurately and completely read out its wording.
Those who fail to comply will be disqualified from assuming office.
At the same seminar, Chen Zuoer, chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said there were “several more” lawmakers-elect who failed to abide by the law other than Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching of the localist group Youngspiration.
Leung and Yau had their oaths voided on Oct. 12 after they displayed a cape with the words “Hong Kong is not China” and used a derogatory term for China in their swearing-in.
Chen, a former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, mentioned several acts deemed “not sincere and solemn”, including calling for self-determination or democracy.
Chen said it is up to the Hong Kong government to decide whether those responsible for such actions should be disqualified.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said the government is studying the impact of Beijing’s Basic Law interpretation.
It reserves the right to take legal action against lawmakers-elect with questionable qualifications, she said.
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen said such decisions can only be made by the courts, he said.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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