By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 11: Hong Kong’s elected pro-democracy lawmakers announced their resignation on Wednesday after Beijing passed a resolution that expelled four legislators; Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung. The resolution passed by China’s highest legislative body allows the government to expel elected leaders directly without any trial in the courts.
The new ruling that expelled lawmakers are alleged to promoting or supporting Hong Kong independence and undermining Beijing’s sovereignty. The ruling targets legislators who “seek foreign forces to intervene in the affairs of Hong Kong, or who have endangered national security [or] fail to uphold the Basic Law.” As a result, the four were immediately disqualified from the Legislative Council; they were previously barred from running for legislative elections which has now been postponed.
This ruling has closed off remaining avenues for political dissent, following the imposition of the national security law in June that criminalised any pro-democracy activities. At the press conference announcing their mass resignation, one of the four expelled lawmakers, Dennis Kwok said that the Chief Executive Carrie Lam had “sought to turn the Legislative Council into a one party system.” He further accused the government to have completely given up the Basic Law and ‘One Country Two System’, arguing that the Legislative council has the responsibility to check the government.
The group has vowed to stand in solidarity with the disqualified lawmakers and said they would hand in their resignations in the legislative chamber together on Thursday. “Today we will resign from our positions because our partners, our colleagues have been disqualified by the central government’s ruthless move,” Wu Chi-wai, the leader of the pro-democracy camp, told the press on Wednesday.
Carrie Lam said in a press conference that those who do not respect China’s sovereignty “cannot genuinely perform their duties as legislators.” 12 pro-democracy candidates including the expelled MPs were disqualified from standing in the legislative elections. The scheduled election on Sept. 6 was postponed in July for another year due to COVID-19 concerns, but activists claimed that the pandemic was used as an excuse to indefinitely postpone a crucial election for Hong Kong.