China must act against separatist forces in HK: Panel
Beijing: Amid deepening political crisis over defiant assertions by newly-elected pro-independence legislators that Hong Kong is not a part of China, a top Chinese legislative panel asked the government to intervene and take control of the situation, underlining that such a challenge posed a threat to national security.
“A handful of Hong Kong legislators-elect violated the oath intentionally, publicly advocating Hong Kong independence and insulting the Chinese nation at the swearing-in ceremony for the sixth Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR),” said an official statement issued after a meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee last night.
The legislative panel said that two Hong Kong lawmakers’ words and actions “posed a grave threat to national sovereignty and security.”
If such a situation were to persist, the committee said, it would hurt the interests of Hong Kong’s residents and the country’s progress.
NPC, often termed as the rubber stamp of ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), is China’s highest legislature with a strength of about 3,000 members. It meets annually once.
A Standing Committee NPC consisting of 150 important members holds bimonthly sessions to deliberate and legislate on important issues.
The panel met yesterday for the first time to deliberate on the crisis deepened after two pro-independence legislators, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung, from Youngspiration party expressed support for Hong Kong’s independence from China while taking oath in LegCo last month and used a derogatory term to describe Beijing.
Yau and Leung of the radical Youngspiration party altered their oaths to insert a disparaging Japanese term for China.
Displaying a flag reading “Hong Kong is not China,” they vowed to defend the “Hong Kong nation.” Leung crossed his fingers while Yau used the F-word in her pledge.
Their oaths were ruled invalid but attempts at a do-over have resulted in mayhem in the legislature’s weekly sessions.
Criticising the actions of the pro-independence legislators, the NPC statement said that in recent years, advocacy of “Hong Kong independence” has emerged in some sections of Hong Kong society.
“Some people have displayed Hong Kong independence flags and established Hong Kong independence organisations. They have even pursued violence,” the statement said.
“These words and actions have openly challenged the Basic Law, hampered the normal operation of the authorities of the Hong Kong SAR and undermined the rule of law in Hong Kong,” it said.
“They have hit the bottom line of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and posed a grave threat to national sovereignty and security,” the statement said.
“If the situation is allowed to continue, the immediate interests of residents in the SAR and the development interests of the nation will be damaged,” it said, stressing that the central authorities cannot afford to idly sit and do nothing, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
In a bid to set at rest the controversy over the oath, the Standing Committee has approved an official interpretation of the oath to be taken by the Hong Kong legislators.
The Standing Committee will conclude its deliberations tomorrow.