Friday, 4 November 2016

Beijing Decides to Weigh In

Maria Tam confirms Beijing will interpret Article 104 of the Basic Law
After days of speculation, Beijing has confirmed that it will look into the oath-taking controversy by two localist lawmakers.

Basic Law committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu told Hong Kong media the National People's Congress would seek an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law, which says lawmakers must swear allegiance to Hong Kong, recognizing it is an inalienable part of China.

"This was not the Hong Kong government or the chief executive requesting the interpretation... It is an important issue involving national unity and territorial integrity, therefore [the NPC's leadership] took the initiative and made the request," she says.

The news angered pan-democrats and localists, while the legal sector is planning a silent march on Tuesday, the day after the NPC Standing Committee is expected to release its interpretation.

What will Beijing's ruling be? Will it respect rule of law in Hong Kong, one of the last institutions with integrity in the city?

Divisions in the city are generation based -- those 50 and over are more pro-establishment and the younger they are, the more localist (and separatist) they become.

But the vast majority of us understand and accept that Hong Kong can never be independent, but can it least still have its institutions it holds dear and are the foundations of its success as an international city?

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