All Hong Kong opposition MPs resign after 4 colleagues dismissed
Update 1: Reworks lede and nutgraf, changes headline
Hong Kong, Nov 11 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong’s opposition parliamentarians announced their en-masse resignation from their positions Wednesday after the government dismissed four opposition lawmakers following the approval of a new regulation from China.
The remaining 15 MPs – the opposition had 19 minister of parliament in the Hong Kong Legislative Council – announced their decision at a press conference in the city hours after the dismissal of their colleagues.
“Today we will resign from our posts because our colleagues have been disqualified by the ruthless action of the central government,” said opposition coordinator Wu Chi-wai, explaining that the 15 deputies will deliver their resignation letters Thursday.
Those dismissed were the parliamentarians of the Civic Party Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki and Dennis Kwok and deputy Kenneth Leung, who had already been vetoed from attending legislative elections before they were postponed until September next year.
Chinese state agency Xinhua reported Monday that the Standing Committee of China’s congress approved a resolution by which parliamentarians lose their seat if they promote Hong Kong’s independence, support foreign intervention or participate in acts compromising national security.
Minutes later, the Hong Kong government revealed the names of the dismissed parliamentarians.
The 19 opposition MPs in the Legislative Council of the autonomous city had threatened Monday to withdraw en masse from the local parliament if Beijing removed any of them.
The Legislative Council meeting was suspended Wednesday shortly after the announcement of the resolution adopted by the ANP.
The dismissed MPs condemned the decision, calling it an “obvious violation” of the city’s Basic Law (Hong Kong’s constitution) and its rights to participate in public affairs.
“If respecting due procedures and fighting for democracy can lead to being dismissed, it will be an honor,” MP Kwok told reporters after leaving the local parliament.
According to Xinhua, the resolution approved by the ANP applies to those who have been disqualified from attending the next elections and also to “future violations” that any deputy may commit related to the reasons established by the regulations.
In mid-July, twelve candidates opposed to the elections, then scheduled for two months later, were disqualified from the competition after the local Electoral Commission deemed their nomination invalid.
On Jul. 31, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced she was postponing legislative elections scheduled for Sep. 6, by one year, due to the worsening of the covid pandemic in the city.
The opposition considered Lam and the pro-Beijing ruling party used the coronavirus as an excuse to suspend the elections, since pro-democracy forces hoped to obtain a victory after the devastating victory they reaped in the November 2019 district elections.
Elections to the Legislative Council are the most important popular vote in Hong Kong, as the head of the government is not elected by direct suffrage, despite being one of the oldest demands of the pro-Democrats. EFE-EPA