A new resolution passed by the top Chinese legislation Wednesday prompted the resignation of all of Hong Kong’s pro-democratic lawmakers, effective immediately, multiple media reports confirm.
The powerful new resolution by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee give’s Hong Kong’s local authority the power to squelch oppositions without having to run the matter through courts.
Four Hong Kong opposition lawmakers — Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki, and Kenneth Leung Kai-Cheong, whom China brands as ‘unpatriotic’ resign immediately, which was followed by the rest of the Democrats who said would hand their resignation soon.
The move puts Hong Kong without any effective opposition in the parliament which international critics say is perhaps the biggest blow to Hong Kong’s leftover democracy.
Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai announced the development with a statement saying: “Today, we announce we will resign from our positions as our colleagues are being disqualified by the central government’s ruthless move,” SCMP reported.
He said, the basic separation of power guaranteed by Hong Kong’s ‘Basic Law’ is now being crushed and that “all the power will be centralized in the chief executive – a puppet of the central government. So today is the end of ‘one country, two systems’.”
Chairperson 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.
“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.
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“But we will not be defeated by pressure and oppression. We will find a new way,” Wu said to reporters, the Hong Kong Free Press reported.
As per the resolution, the opposition who will abate motion against China’s central government and oppose the newly enacted, also controversial Security Law, cannot perform from Hong Kong’s soil.
China’s Global Times the Communist Party’s mouthpiece alleged these four lawmakers as ‘infamous’ and of colluding with foreign forces, and even ‘begging them to pass laws to sanction Hong Kong.’
The four members were a part of what is called the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and their resignation leaves 15 lawmakers in the opposition out of 58 in LegCo.
The disqualified oppositions were sixth-term LegCo members and were up for re-election in the now-postponed September 6, but the election was invalidated by the Chinese government for the above reasons, Xinhua News agency reported.
The sweeping new law comes in the same year as the Security Law from June, which criminalized “secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces”. International critics slammed the move as pestering democracy under the cold knees of authoritarianism.
Hong Kong, which is currently a Chinese Special Administrative Region used to be a British colony. It was handed back to China in 1997.
During the power transfer, Hong Kong was given the status of ‘One nation, two systems’ under what was dubbed as Basic Law as the governing principal. It essentially meant people in the region would enjoy more freedom than Mainland China, until 2047.
As a SPecial administrative region, Hong Kong was supposed to have freedom of free speech, opposition lawmakers, own legal system, and other allowances, traditionally associated with democracy.
But a far-reaching and sweeping security law passed in July 2020 by the People’s Republic of China sought to crush these rights originally ensured to the people of Hong Kong.
For two months, Hong Kong encountered historic furor among the public demanding democratic governance. And China had to take control, which it did by amending the Hong Kong Security Law.
London responded to China’s move by offering British citizenship to Hong Kong residents holding a British National Overseas (BNO) passport.
The BBC noted, as much as 2.9 million people born before the Hong Kong handover to China are eligible for citizenship and 300,000 people currently hold BNO passports. China strongly responded to London’s move last month.
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