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Lawmakers have a duty to respect the law

Updated: 2016-11-01 08:00
By KENNEDY WONG (China Daily)

Lawmakers have a duty to respect the law

Residents hold placards and shout slogans outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on October 19 to protest the retaking of the Legislative Council oath by lawmakers-elect Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang. ROY LIU/CHINA DAILY

Lawmakers-elect Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching should have abided by the law and taken their oath for Hong Kong's Legislative Council in a proper manner. Only by so doing, would they demonstrate their dedication to their legislative duties and allegiance to Hong Kong.

Instead, Leung and Yao paraded "pro-independence" posters during the swearing in ceremony, and even referred to China as "Shina"-a derogatory archaic Japanese term used to discriminate against China during Japan's war of aggression.

The event has sparked outrage in mainstream Hong Kong society, prompting thousands of netizens to sign a petition demanding the duo apologize for their behavior.

Everybody in the special administrative region should act in accordance with its laws; its legislators are no exception to this. The lawmakers should be the ones setting the example and guiding others, this is why it is unacceptable that Leung and Yau contravened the Basic Law during their oath taking.

However, instead of apologizing for the offensive behavior, they have shown no remorse and are stubbornly holding to their stance.

The LegCo president has the power not to allow them to retake the oath and revoke their seats in the legislative council, but he did not have enough courage to take that route. They have even been excused by the Legislative Council president, who declared they could retake their oaths without having to apologize.

If these wrongdoers are not required to atone for their wrongdoing, they will continue in their ways, and eventually cause damage to society.

Executing his legal right as the head of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has sought to overturn the LegCo president's decision to hear a second oath from the "localist" lawmakers.

The move is not the executive branch interfering with legislative operations. Leung has sound legal grounds for making the move, and has acted in accordance with the law.

The issue at hand is that these legislators-elect have crossed the constitutional red line. With Hong Kong society in danger of moving towards radical conflict and division, the chief executive can and should take legal action to maintain Hong Kong's political system and social stability.

The Supreme Court of Hong Kong has accepted his request, and a hearing is scheduled to take place on Nov 13.

The author is a Hong Kong-based National Committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

Courtesy: The China Post

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