Hong Kong expelled four pro-democratic opposition members from parliament on Wednesday. The move follows the adoption of a controversial law by Beijing’s parliament. It states that parliamentarians may be removed from office if they strive for independence, support foreign influence or endanger national security.
New law blow again to pro-democrats
The Chinese Parliament has decided to further curtail Hong Kong’s autonomy by making “patriotism” a legal requirement for the 70 members of the Hong Kong Parliament from now on. The law makes it possible to fire MPs directly without the intervention of a judge.
The nineteen opposition members threatened to resign “en masse” on Monday if the government were to remove opposition members from their office. Now it is clear that Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok and Kenneth Leung have to leave. They would endanger national security.
The politicians, along with eight other persons, had previously been barred from participating in the now-postponed parliamentary elections initially scheduled for September this year because they would not have complied with the controversial security law.
Beijing enacted Hong Kong’s National Security Law at the end of June, limiting various freedoms and ending massive anti-government protests. Critics say the security law is meant to quell the pro-democracy protest movement in Hong Kong.
The new law is a hard blow to the democratic opposition in the former British Crown Colony. The metropolis of Hong Kong has been part of communist China since 1997, but has largely functioned as an autonomous region for fifty years, according to the agreements made at the time.
Laws passed in Beijing take precedence over Hong Kong’s nominally independent legal system. Half of the MPs are directly elected by the people. This is fueling the unrest in the metropolis, where some residents are demanding more democracy.