Four MPs are expelled from the Hong Kong parliament for campaigning for the democracy movement. Now the entire remaining pro-democracy group wants to resign in protest.
In protest against the expulsion of four MPs from the Hong Kong Parliament, members of the Democratic camp announced their resignation almost entirely. The 15 MPs of the Democratic Party Alliance announced their decision on Wednesday.
Shortly before that, the Chinese Special Administrative Region government had withdrawn their comrades-in-arms Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok and Kenneth Leung. Hong Kong was a British Crown Colony until 1997 and actually guaranteed special rights.
Minutes before the expulsion, China’s state news agency Xinhua had published a decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. According to this statement, Hong Kong MPs can now be withdrawn from their seats without a court order under certain conditions – if they advocate Hong Kong’s independence, participate in acts that endanger national security, or assist foreign forces in interfering with internal affairs.
The four politicians involved had already been excluded from the parliamentary elections, which were to take place in September. The election was then postponed until next year. The four belonged to the so-called Legislative Council – the official name of the Hong Kong Parliament – also of the Democratic Party Alliance. In addition, so far there are only a few MPs who are also critical of China.
Prime Minister Lam: Patriots needed in Parliament
Carrie Lam, the pro-Chinese prime minister of Hong Kong, defended the move: “We need a political body made up of patriots.” Democratic camp leader Wu Chi-wai said, “Today we announce that we will step down as our colleagues have been displaced by the brutal action of the central government.”
There was also international criticism. The chairman of the Human Rights Committee in the Bundestag, Gyde Jensen (FDP), criticized that such a “blank check law” could also exclude other obnoxious MPs in the future. Beijing is finally breaking international law. The federal government must “finally come to clear conclusions”. There was initially no official statement from the German side.
Hong Kong’s parliament is only partially democratically elected
The Legislative Council has so far been only partially democratically occupied, as Beijing does not allow completely free elections in the Special Administrative Region. Only some of the members of parliament are elected on the basis of universal freedom to vote. The others are determined by Hong Kong advocacy groups, the majority of whom are pro-Beijing. As the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported, the four MPs had participated in so-called filibusters. Constant research prevents a vote on proposed legislation.
Prime Minister Lam denied that the lockout had anything to do with it. The seats are not taken “because they use certain parliamentary tactics”. However, violations of the constitution and the law protecting national security are not allowed. China passed the controversial law in June. It targets activities that Beijing considers subversive, separatist or terrorist. Critics consider this to be the most extensive breach of Hong Kong’s autonomy to date.
Since July 1, 1997, Hong Kong has been part of China again, but is governed according to the principle of “one country, two systems”. This agreement actually stipulates that Hong Kongers will enjoy “a high degree of autonomy” and many freedoms for 50 years to 2047. However, since the security law was passed, many have only spoken of “one country, one system”.