The decision, handed by China’s highest legislative physique, permits Hong Kong’s govt to expel elected lawmakers immediately with out having to undergo the courts, cementing Beijing’s management and certain signaling the tip of organized political opposition within the semi-autonomous territory.

Beneath the brand new ruling, lawmakers who’re deemed to promote or help Hong Kong independence, or who refuse to acknowledge Beijing’s sovereignty, will “instantly lose their {qualifications},” the decision stated.

It additionally applies to elected lawmakers who “search international forces to intervene within the affairs of Hong Kong, or who’ve endangered nationwide safety” and who “fail to uphold the Primary Legislation” — town’s mini structure — in addition to those that are deemed “not loyal to the authorized necessities and circumstances” of the territory.

The 4 legislators, Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung, had been instantly disqualified from town’s Legislative Council following the ruling, the Hong Kong authorities stated. The 4 had been beforehand barred from working in now postponed legislative elections earlier this yr.

The ruling signifies that Beijing has successfully closed off one of many few remaining avenues open to Hong Kong residents to voice political dissent, following the imposition of a sweeping nationwide safety legislation in June criminalizing subversion.

In a present of solidarity on Monday, town’s 15 remaining pro-democracy lawmakers introduced they might step down en masse, saying that the “One Nation Two Programs” framework that had meant to present Hong Kong with better autonomy from the mainland is now formally useless.

At a press convention saying the mass resignation on Wednesday, Dennis Kwok, one of many 4 disqualified lawmakers, stated that Hong Kong Chief Govt Carrie Lam had “sought to flip the Legislative Council right into a one occasion system.”

“It’s ridiculous that the federal government has utterly given up the Primary Legislation and ‘One Nation Two Programs’,” he stated. “The Legislative Council has the accountability to verify the federal government.”

Kwok stated that the pan democratic lawmakers “will stand along with our disqualified colleagues and we’ll in the present day all resign collectively.” The group stated they might hand of their resignations within the legislative chamber collectively on Thursday.

The federal government clampdown is available in response to months of pro-democracy protests, which at their top final summer season attracted greater than 1 million folks, and plunged town into political disaster.

Some Hong Kong activists together with former lawmakers and protest leaders have sought political asylum in different international locations, fearing for his or her security below the brand new measures.

Earlier than lawmakers introduced their resignation, pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo advised MeSlop that the authorities “have virtually put the nail into Hong Kong’s democracy combat. “

“Any more, anybody deemed to be politically incorrect is not going to be allowed to run within the election,” she stated. “They’re ensuring solely patriots can be part of Hong Kong’s political election.”

Lam, Hong Kong’s chief, stated in a press convention Wednesday that those that don’t respect China’s sovereignty “can not genuinely carry out their duties as legislators.”

“I welcome various opinion within the Legislative Council and respect the checks and balances,” Lam stated, including that, “all of these tasks have to be exercised responsibly.”

Although part of China, Hong Kong has its personal authorized and political system, with restricted democracy and better private freedoms than on the mainland.

Opposition lawmakers — the democratic camp — held a minority within the 70-member Legislative Council and had usually resorted to filibustering and different procedural ways to decelerate laws they noticed as diminishing these social freedoms.

RTHK beforehand reported that Beijing was looking for to unseat the now disqualified lawmakers for violating Hong Kong’s Primary Legislation by filibustering conferences. Emily Lau, former chair for the Democratic Occasion, stated that she believed the Hong Kong authorities and the ruling Communist Occasion in Beijing had turn out to be pissed off with these ways.

“It’s completely devastating,” stated Lau, a former Legislative Council member, of the brand new decision. “Now we have procedures within the Primary Legislation if you need to kick out a legislator however they’ve simply ignored all that … there isn’t any rule of legislation. It is sending a really dangerous sign to Hong Kong and the world.”

Lau stated that the broad definition of recent ruling means it may very well be utilized to “virtually half of the inhabitants” and that the one individuals who may now run for presidency can be those that would “kowtow to Beijing.”

In July, 12 pro-democracy candidates, together with the now-excluded 4, had been disqualified from standing in now-postponed legislative elections on the grounds that they might not uphold town’s mini-constitution.

They included distinguished Hong Kong activist and former chief of the 2014 Umbrella Motion Joshua Wong, and a variety of candidates from extra conventional pro-democracy events, in addition to a number of younger activists who reduce their political enamel in final yr’s pro-democracy protest motion.

The legislative election, which had been scheduled for September 6, was postponed in July for 12 months due to coronavirus considerations. However some pro-democracy activists claimed the federal government was utilizing the pandemic as an excuse to indefinitely postpone an important election for Hong Kong.
Just below half the seats within the Legislative Council are managed by so-called useful constituencies, which signify enterprise and society teams and are sometimes pro-government. The remaining go to candidates in geographical constituencies, and earlier than the election postponement, opposition events had aimed to journey a wave of discontent with the federal government to fill these seats.

Critics now worry that with Beijing’s ruling and the expulsion of democracy lawmakers, Hong Kong’s parliament could turn out to be a rubber stamp physique for pro-Beijing insurance policies.

With reporting from Eric Cheung, Kristie Lu Stout, and James Griffiths in Hong Kong.

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