Four opposition pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong have been disqualified with immediate effect, it came moments after China’s decision-making body passed a resolution allowing for the disqualification of lawmakers found to have supported the city’s independence.
The move is being seen as another attempt by China to restrict Hong Kong’s freedoms, other pro-democracy lawmakers are expected to resign in protest. The new resolution passed by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee says that lawmakers should be disqualified if they support Hong Kong independence, refuse to acknowledge China’s sovereignty, ask foreign forces to interfere in the city’s affairs or in other ways threaten national security, it comes after China in July introduced a controversial and far-reaching national security law in Hong Kong that criminalized “secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces”. The law was introduced after years marked by waves of pro-democracy and anti-Beijing protests, it has already led to several arrests of activists and has largely silenced protesters.
The four unseated lawmakers are Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki and Dennis Kwok of the Civic Party and Kenneth Leung of the Professionals Guild, they were among 12 legislators who were earlier barred from standing in a legislative election before the polls were postponed to next year. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators have 19 seats in the 70-seat legislature, Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 when it was returned to Chinese control.