11/07/2016, 09.52
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Beijing bans localist deputies from Hong Kong parliament. Clashes in Central

by Paul Wang

Democrats say Beijing decree voids the territory’s judicial system. At least 11 thousand protesters clash with police. Governor CY Leung pressed to pass a law on security, rejected many times by the population.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Beijing has decreed that two young localist deputies who had refused to swear alliance with China be excluded from Hong Kong parliament. This resulted in over night clashes between police and thousands of young people demonstrating outside the High Court in Hong Kong.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress – China’s highest legislative authority -  ruled on a precise interpretation of the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s constitution) stating that anyone who fails to submit to the established oath, cannot take their seat  Hong Kong’s parliament (Legco).

The two young localist, Sixtus Baggio and Leung Yau Wai-ching had refused to swear alliance with China. The chairman of the Legco had first asked them to retake the oath, but then the government referred the matter to Hong Kong High Court to check the terms of their definitive expulsion from the Legco.

Beijing took action before the High Court had ruled.

According to the democratic group, which sympathizes with the two young parliamentarians, the Basic Law already says that a Member can be excluded from the legislation only by the vote of two thirds of Legco.

According to Martin Lee, a Democrat, drafter of the Basic Law, Beijing’s decree "takes away the right to address such cases in the future from the hands of the court," weakening "the high degree of autonomy" of always promised by China to the territory. But other pro-Beijing legislators appreciate the intervention as "necessary and at the right time", making Hong Kong stable and of less concern for its economy.

As news of Beijing’s intervention spread thousands of people took to the downtown streets in protest. Many of them had participated in the Occupy Central demonstrations in 2014, to demand full democracy to the territory (denied by Beijing in a heavy handed intervention).

At least 11 thousand demonstrators were confronted with police in riot gear, who used pepper spray and baton charges against the crowd that defended itself with umbrellas.

Sixtus Baggio and Leung Yau Wai-ching were among protesters. They believe that Beijing should have left the Hong Kong court to decide what to do.

Fearing new and future demonstrations or sit-ins such as Occupy Central which lasted over two months, Leung Chun-ying, Governor of Hong Kong threatened to immediately approve a law on security, the notorious Article 23, which in the past had been rejected by the people of Hong Kong with massive demonstrations and by the Legco, thanks to the presence of many democratic legislators who are not subservient to Beijing.

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