Opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong on Wednesday announced they “will resign en masse” after four of their colleagues were disqualified early today.
Addressing a news conference, Democratic Party Chairman Wu Chi-wai said: “Democrats are facing a whole new set of circumstances. In view of our colleagues who were ousted today, all democrats decide to stand with them and resign en masse…”
Earlier on Wednesday, the Hong Kong government disqualified four lawmakers from the region’s Legislative Council (LegCo) after China issued a go-ahead notice.
The Democratic Party called the Beijing move “ridiculous,” accusing China of completely abandoning Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
“Hong Kong, from today onward, can no longer tell the world that there is ‘one country, two systems’,” Wu said, according to online newspaper Hong Kong Free Press.
The disqualified pro-democracy lawmakers, who sit on opposition benches, include Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki, and Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong.
China’s top legislature issued a constitutional structure for disqualifying what state-run Chinese daily Global Times referred to as “unpatriotic LegCo lawmakers.”
The move also empowered the local Hong Kong government to bypass local courts.
In July, China implemented National Security Law, arguing it intends to secure the country’s sovereignty over the semi-autonomous region, which drew criticism from the Western capitals.
“The move will not frustrate us, as we know democracy will not be achieved overnight. The road to democracy is especially long when confronting an authoritarian regime. But we will not be defeated by pressure and oppression. We will find a new way,” Wu added.
The opposition lawmakers are expected to submit resignation notices on Thursday.
Implementation of the new security law was prompted by year-long anti-government protests in 2019 against now dumped extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Beijing.
Previously, Hong Kong LegCo had disqualified another eight candidates over now-postponed elections, which were scheduled to be held in September but was delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to disqualify the lawmakers by the local Hong Kong government came after a resolution passed by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee early Wednesday stated the said lawmakers would “immediately lose their seats if they were ruled to have promoted or supported the notion of Hong Kong independence, refused to endorse the country’s resumption of sovereignty over the city, sought foreign forces to meddle in the city’s affairs or engaged in acts that jeopardize national security.”
A statement by the Hong Kong government said: “Once confirmed in accordance with the law, [they] would lose their Legislative Council member qualification immediately.”
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