Wang Shengwei says the two disgraced lawmakers-elect should now be banned from the Legislative Council — particularly given the great offense they have caused to so many.
The most important action necessary for restoring stability to Hong Kong today is for the chaos in the Legislative Council to be ended swiftly and decisively. The situation has become increasingly confused since the two most controversial winners of LegCo seats, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang, deliberately corrupted the oaths they swore almost four weeks ago. Not only did the pair purposely deviate from the text of their prescribed oaths, they also used the derogatory Japanese term “Shina” in place of “China”, a most vulgar word “ref*cking” to replace “Republic”, and the term “Hong Kong nation”. On top of these insults, Leung and Yau were wrapped in or displaying a banner with the phrase “Hong Kong is not China” on it.
First, the use of “Shina” is very serious because it re-opened old wounds among Chinese, particularly Hong Kong people. This year is the 75th anniversary of the surrender of the then British colony of Hong Kong to the Japanese.
On Dec 25, 1941, after 18 days of failed British resistance to the Japanese military attacks, Hong Kong suffered its darkest Christmas ever, beginning three years and eight months of Japanese occupation. The Japanese brought great suffering and misery to Hong Kong people. In order to reduce the population from 1.6 million to below 600,000, the Japanese soldiers wantonly massacred Hong Kong people, sent young people to Hainan and Japan to do hard labor, drowned people at sea, and abandoned them on barren islands. Over 100,000 Hong Kong people were lured to the South Stone Concentration Camp near the Pearl River estuary to become victims of Japanese Unit 8604’s bacteriological warfare experiments. They were even dissected alive, and almost no one survived.
If Yau and Leung identify themselves as Chinese, how could they stoop so low as to mimic this degrading word, thereby again hurting Hong Kong people’s feelings like the Japanese invaders did?
Second, using a vulgar word to replace “Republic” is a great insult to the Chinese nation. Their subsequent participation at a Taipei forum advocating “Hong Kong independence” and Nov 2’s storming of LegCo conference room are further evidence that they are not qualified to be lawmakers.
Third, oath-taking is a constitutional requirement. Basic Law Article 104 states that LegCo members must, when assuming office, “swear to uphold the Basic Law of the HKSAR of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and swear allegiance to the HKSAR of the PRC”. The pair’s antics broke the bottom line of “One Country, Two Systems”, the national Constitution, the Basic Law, and the laws of Hong Kong. They have hurt the sentiments of all Chinese people. More than 1 million Hong Kong people have joined a protest on the internet, and there are many street demonstrations demanding the pair be punished according to the law. This shows you the strength of public opinion against their actions.
The Hong Kong High Court has completed a hearing into whether the errant pair should be disqualified. Meanwhile in Beijing, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) has given an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law to set out the “format and conduct” for Hong Kong lawmakers in taking their oaths, and criteria for LegCo disqualification.
Realistically speaking, “One Country” is the basis of “One Country, Two Systems”. From the perspective of Hong Kong, the current judicial review seems to be dealing with an individual case, but in fact it is a vital question of right and wrong, which attaches great importance to both national unity and territorial integrity. No matter how our judges decide, an interpretation of the law is unavoidable, because the problem of “Hong Kong independence” is a critical issue. Beijing must express its position after its authority, core values and sovereignty over Hong Kong were openly and ruthlessly challenged by these two troublemakers.
Clearly, if the central government does not give an interpretation of Article 104 soon enough, it is more difficult for local courts to resolve the oath issue. The case would almost certainly end up in the Court of Final Appeal and our legislature would most likely remain dysfunctional for weeks or months, if not years. At that point, the judges would have to decide whether or not to refer the case to the NPCSC for an interpretation of relevant parts of the Basic Law. The central government authorities have the right to take the initiative to interpret the law and such an interpretation can help clarify the gray areas concerning “Hong Kong independence” and quickly resolve the oath issue.
As for its impact on Hong Kong, the SAR inevitably has to pay a price for eradicating the root causes of “Hong Kong independence” and various forms of extremism and radicalism. But by Beijing’s calculation, this cost must be far smaller than Hong Kong getting completely out of control politically and legally, thereby harming the entire country.
The author is an independent scholar and freelance writer. She is also the founder and president of the China-US Friendship Exchange Inc.