Hong Kong’s leader said Monday that he would “fully implement” a ruling by Beijing which effectively bars two elected pro-independence lawmakers from the city’s legislature after they deliberately misread their oaths of office.
An oath that did not conform to Hong Kong’s law “should be determined to be invalid, and cannot be retaken”, the Communist-controlled National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing said in a rare interpretation of the semi-autonomous city’s constitution.
Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying told reporters that he and the city government would “implement the interpretation fully”.
“Any words or deeds that deliberately contravene (the interpretation’s) requirements, defy the prescribed oath-taking procedures, or even use the opportunity to insult the country and the Chinese people and advocate cessation, must be stopped in accordance with the law,” Leung said.
In its pronouncement earlier Monday, the NPC declared that legislators had to be “sincere and solemn” when taking their oaths, and had to pledge “completely and solemnly” to uphold the Basic Law of Hong Kong as part of the People’s Republic of China.
It comes after pro-independence lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung included expletives and derogatory terms in their oaths of office last month, and draped themselves in “Hong Kong is not China” flags.
They were initially offered a second chance to take their oaths, but both the Hong Kong government and Beijing have intervened to prevent that.
Hong Kong’s independence movement has gathered momentum as fears grow that China is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city.