Hong Kong mass resignations challenge the authorities

On Thursday, 12 November, 15 Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers resigned in protest of the dismissal of four legislators who were fired on the basis of being a threat to national security. The Chinese government has termed this an open challenge to the authorities.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who was appointed by Beijing, was granted the power to remove any legislator from the Parliament without court procedure. The Executive immediately made use of her powers to remove the four legislators: Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kenneth Leung, Kowk Ka-ki.

The concerned were already denied participation in the upcoming elections, which were originally scheduled for September 2020.

“We owe a display of solidarity with our colleagues who were ousted. They’re lining us up to oust us bit by bit. What’s the point of staying on like this, thinking will I be ousted today or not?” said Claudia Mo, one of the lawmakers who resigned.

The 70-seat Legislative Council of Hong Kong is now down to 43, with only two pro-democracy members. “It once again showed their stubborn confrontation against the central government and a blatant challenge to the power of the central government. We severely condemn this,” a statement by Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said.

Background

In 1984, Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

On 30 June 2020, the Chinese legislature passed a National Security Law, which threatened Hong Kong’s autonomy. This law criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign authorities. This law was severely condemned by the people, and protests erupted across the city.

Image: Unfold Times

Many activists absconded the city, and various pro-democracy parties dissolved after this law was enforced.

What does the world have to say?

The UK has accused China of breaching the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. “China has once again broken its promises and undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” said Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary. “With our international partners, we will hold China to the obligations it freely assumed under international law.”

The US has threatened to impose sanctions on the Hong Kong government, saying it was a step to a one-party dictatorship. The EU has called for an immediate reversal of these decisions by the authorities in Beijing and the Hong Kong Government and for the immediate reinstatement of the Legislative Council members.

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Source: BBC

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