NPC urged to interpret Hong Kong Basic Law

By Chen Heying Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/2 23:38:39

Newly elected lawmaker Baggio Leung (C) is restrained by security after attempting to deliver his Legislative Council (LegCo) oath in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Newly elected lawmaker Baggio Leung (C) is restrained by security after attempting to deliver his Legislative Council (LegCo) oath in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Experts and officials believed that it is well-grounded in law to punish a handful of pro-independence Hong Kong legislators-elect, as Hong Kong media reported that the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee would interpret the Hong Kong's mini-constitution on Thursday.

Considering that the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) is unlikely to be able to stop another oath-taking ceremony by those lawmakers and the Hong Kong court rarely takes the national interests and security into account, the national legislature should take the initiative to interpret the Basic Law, Tian Feilong, a legal expert at Beihang University, told the Global Times.

The NPC Standing Committee will meet on Thursday to discuss an interpretation of the Basic Law, coinciding with a judicial review filed before Hong Kong's High Court. The local government has asked the court to bar the two lawmakers from taking their seats in the LegCo, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Monday that he could not rule out asking Beijing to interpret the city's mini-constitution over the handling of the controversial oath-taking by two legislators on October 12.

The pro-democracy group Civil Human Rights Front staged a rally against the interpretation on Wednesday evening, marching to the Liaison Office, according to its Facebook page.

When the oath-taking ceremony for the sixth LegCo of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region convened, two newly elected pan-democratic lawmakers made a mockery of it. Youngspiration's Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chun-hang tampered with the oath by replacing "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China" with "Hong Kong nation."

A week later, pro-establishment lawmakers walked out of the LegCo to halt for the second time the oath-taking ceremony.

"[They were not only] making remarks against the Constitution and law at the swearing-in ceremony, but were insulting the Chinese nation … They should not be given another chance to take their oath, and they should be disqualified," Mo Jihong, a law professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted by the People's Daily on Tuesday.

"Anyone advocating for 'Hong Kong independence' in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region where the rule of law is observed should be punished in accordance with the law. There is no excuse for condoning [such activities,]" Zhang Xiaoming, head of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong, told the Xinhua News Agency as saying on Monday.

"NPC's interpretation will end the constitutional crisis and paralysis within the LegCo, giving clear and stable guidance on [the implementation of] the Basic Law," Tian said.

The interpretation, however, is not the ultimate measure to contain pro-independence Hong Kongers when they have already entered the LegCo, Tian noted, suggesting that a standard be set by the national legislature to disqualify those candidates from the very beginning.


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