Saturday, 5 November 2016

Beijing's Draft Ruling on Oath-Taking

This will probably the last time antics like this will be seen in Legco
The National People's Congress Standing Committee has drafted its interpretation of how Hong Kong lawmakers should take their oaths.

The whole issue erupted thanks to Youngspiration lawmakers Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who said "Chee-na" during their oath-taking over three weeks ago, that refers to a derogatory term the Japanese used during World War II.

Law experts who have looked at the draft say it's so detailed, that it amounts to making a new law for the city. It is believed to prescribe the format and conduct of lawmakers taking the oath, the consequences of not complying to the rules, and defining what "allegiance" means, according to the Basic Law.

Johannes Chan worries about Beijing legally interfering
However, Johannes Chan Man-mun, a constitutional law expert at the University of Hong Kong, says this could set a precedent for Beijing to to make its own interpretation of the law in Hong Kong if it doesn't like it, or does not trust local judges in dealing with sensitive issues.

"It is acceptable Beijing wants to define words like 'allegiance' and 'uphold', but to add in so much other detail is not interpreting the law, but making a new law, which the Standing Committee cannot do," he said.

Bar Association chairwoman Winnie Tam Wan-chi SC said the interpretation posed a "limited impact" on the court case.

She noted Beijing seemed to be more concerned about the format and conduct of oath-takers, while arguments in court at the moment are more focused on whether the court had jurisdiction to rule on Legislative Council matters.

Tam said the ruling may be a good thing, though it gives the impression Beijing is interfering in the judicial process.

Sixtus Leung's oath-taking was declared invalid
Perhaps this is Beijing's way of giving its two cents' worth, trying not to look like it is overriding "one country, two systems", but at the same time wanting to stop juvenile antics once and for all.

Looking into Yau Wai-ching's background, it seems curious that she interned at Ta Kung Pao, a very pro-Beijing newspaper. While an internship is one thing, and being a localist is another, one can't help but keep in mind how distinctly polar opposites these two positions are.

The same could be said for Sixtus Leung who is said to have links with the Liaison Office in Western.

And now that I think about it, while we did see the pair march in the rally on Wednesday night, neither of them showed up at the finish, in front of the Liaison Office...

What is going on?

1 comment:

  1. "!!" says FIDO, my pet dog.

    Not sure what exactly FIDO means, but what-the-heck: he has a RIGHT to his independence & free speech -- same as SIXTUS & SEVENTUS, They do sound remarkably similar!