Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Decimated Pan-Democrats

Can the pan-democrats keep up the fight after all the antics they've done?
The pan-democrats really need to think hard about how they want to represent the people of Hong Kong after four lawmakers were removed from office for improper oath taking in the Legislative Council.

Last week Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Leung Kwok-hung, Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Lau Siu-lai were followed by the media as they cleared from their offices in Legco and walked out together, vowing to come back.

Nathan Law's picture of his empty office at Legco
The Hong Kong government had asked the High Court to disqualify the four from their seats, arguing they had broken Hong Kong's Oaths and Declarations Ordinance, and Judge Thomas Au agreed on July 14, referring to a controversial interpretation issued by China's National People's Congress (NPC) standing committee last November.

"Solemnity and sincerity" were qualities required retroactively by the NPC standing committee, a move that sparked protests and fears over the erosion of the city's judicial independence and political autonomy.

"The sole remaining channel for elected representatives to supervise the administration and the chief executive has now been lost," Leung said after the ruling. "This is a result that no Hong Kong person should accept."

Lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick after his appearance in court
Fast forward to yesterday, and a legal bid by a retiree to unseat another pan-democrat, Chu Hoi-dick failed due to the person's inability to pay the security cost on time to start the legal battle.

Even though Chu must have been relieved, he was still cautious afterwards outside the court.

"There is still nothing to be happy about," he said, claiming the central government had used the oath-taking issue as "an excuse to attack the Hong Kong legislature and to rewrite the result of the last Hong Kong Legislative Council elections".

As a voter in last year's elections, I am extremely disappointed that the pan-democrats have lost a crucial balance of power in Legco due to both their silliness in not respecting the oath-taking process, and for the Hong Kong government in going after them in such an aggressive legal manner.

Now the pro-establishment have the edge they need to be able to change Legco rules to limit filibusters and pass some controversial legislation, like the lease agreement at the new cross-border express rail link at the terminus in West Kowloon.

Yau Wai-ching raises eyebows with her swearing-in
The four include the other two Youngspiration lawmakers, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching who totally disrespected the oath by displaying a banner that read "Hong Kong is not China" and in their oaths said "Cheena" instead of "China" and using swear words.

The Hong Kong government (and Beijing) are desperate to keep their advantage in Legco, but they do not reflect public sentiment. Public opinion now -- not elected politicians -- will have to be the last resort in pushing back against the Lam administration and Sai Wan.

There will be by-elections for the four seats lost, but can the pan-democrats regain them again? Respect for them is eroding too, after all the antics we've seen since the election.

The pan-democrats will have to work extra hard to regain our trust, though the alternative is too unsavoury for many of us to swallow...

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