In Hong Kong: Govt backs China bid to bar rebel lawmakers

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In banning the two lawmakers - Beijing's most direct intervention in Hong Kong politics since its return from Britain in 1997 - China insisted that all those holding office must "sincerely and solemnly" declare allegiance to Hong Kong as part of China. However, the NPC made no ruling on whether the two could run again for their original seats, and if they were to do so and be successful, "we could be back where we're at", said Simon Young, an associate dean at Hong Kong University's law school.

The Basic Law grants China's NPC a power of interpretation above Hong Kong's highest court.

The committee didn't say what Hong Kong's legislature should do about seats left unfilled due to invalid oath-taking. Thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong on Sunday, demanding that China's central government sta. They said "Chee-na", a derogatory term used by the Japanese in World War II, instead of "China". Therefore, he said, that person is disqualified.

"Breaking "one-country two-systems" is violating the law, not voicing a political view", said Li, referring to a principle under which Beijing is supposed to let Hong Kong keep its capitalist economic and political system separate from mainland China's until 2047, the AP reported. "And they continue to distort the law though it has been in effect for so many years, resulting in a trap of public opinion, which suggests any interpretation of the law is equivalent to interference in Hong Kong's independent judicial power".

Last week, China passed a ruling that could preclude lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung from the opportunity to redo their swearing-in ceremonies in the city's legislative council - since their oaths in October were rejected because they deliberately misread them to protest for greater sovereignty in Hong Kong. Last month, the news service reports, they modified their oaths "to insert a disparaging Japanese expression for China", and "vowed to defend the "Hong Kong nation" " while displaying a flag that declared "Hong Kong is not China".

"The Central Government is highly concerned about the grave dangers the Hong Kong independence forces are bringing to the country and to Hong Kong".

This effectively prevents any pro-independence people in Hong Kong either to contest polls or hold any office. But since the day that "Occupy Central" was plotted, the organisers and their behind-the-scenes operators have harboured a scheme of "Hong Kong independence" they can not reveal, and they have held aloft the signboards of "democracy", "autonomy", and "self-determination" to drive unknowing students and city residents to the front lines.

It was this political intervention in the judicial system of Hong Kong and the disregard of democracy and freedom that drove Hong Kong people to take to the streets, he said. With the two legislators' case already in front of a Hong Kong court, the NPC likely ruled out of "impatience and fear that the court might decide otherwise", Young said.

That ruling in 2014, which said candidates for the Hong Kong leader must be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, sparked massive rallies known as the "Umbrella Movement".

The Communist Party's intervention in Hong Kong's independent legal system could also damage the territory's reputation as an worldwide trade and finance hub in Asia. Yau and Leung's oath-taking saga could may be the flawless excuse for Beijing to finally implement Article 23, which requires a vote in the legislature.

Hong Kong is a local administrative region directly under the central government, the spokesperson confirmed, and the LegCo is a SAR legislative organ set up in accordance with the Hong Kong Basic Law. "A majority of the people found it offensive, but it does not mean that people necessarily agree with Beijing's interpretation of the Basic Law", he added.

Thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets on Sunday ahead of Beijing's move, with hundreds clashing with police overnight. Lian believes that Leung will only lose Beijing's confidence if he persists in inciting passions in Hong Kong, a stance that has also been communicated to this newspaper by sources with knowledge of the situation.

"I took the oath, and if in the future I say something that is treated by the Beijing government as advocating for independence, for example talking about changing certain articles in the Basic Law, I can be charged by local authorities as not following the oath", said Eddie Chu, a newly-elected Hong Kong legislator who calls for self- determination.