- They announced the decision at a press conference hours before their colleagues left.
- A new NPC resolution allows Hong Kong to remove opposition MPs without trial.
- The massive resignation of all deputies from the pro-democracy camp will leave the LegCo with only members of the pro-Beijing faction.
All of Hong Kong’s opposition MPs resigned en masse on Wednesday in protest of the removal of four of their colleagues by the local government. A new resolution from Beijing allows the Hong Kong government to remove dissident members of the Legislative Council.
The opposition had 19 MPs in total in the LegCo, and following the dismissal of the four, the remaining fifteen also followed suit in solidarity. They announced the decision at a press conference hours before their colleagues left.
”Today we will resign from our positions, because our partners, our colleagues have been disqualified by the central government’s ruthless move,” said Wu Chi-wai the convener of the pro-democracy camp. He also explained that the fifteen deputies will deliver their resignation letters this Thursday.
The four Hong Kong opposition MPs were removed Wednesday from their positions after the National People’s Congress in Beijing passed a resolution that allows the local government to remove politicians from office for various offenses and slights.
According to Beijing’s state news agency, Xinhua, these include promoting Hong Kong’s independence, supporting foreign intervention in internal affairs, and participation in acts that pose risk to national security.
The deputies removed were Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok, and Kenneth Leung, who had previously been vetoed from running for the LegCo before the elections were postponed to September next year.
The nineteen opposition MPs in the LegCo had already threatened last Monday to step down if Beijing removed any of them. The body’s meeting was adjourned today, shortly after the announcement of the approved resolution.
According to Xinhua, the approved resolution applies to those who were disqualified to run in the next elections, and also to “future violations,” which any deputy can commit in relation to the established reasons.
Kwok Ka-ki, one of the deposed deputies, said at the press conference that this measure “is a clear violation of the Basic Law [Hong Kong’s mini-constitution],” and its rights “to participate in public affairs,” as well as a “breach of due process.”
Opposition MP Claudia Mo explained that the move by Mainland China is a dangerous one, as it implies that from now on, anyone considered politically incorrect or anti-patriotic can be expelled by any means.
In turn, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, assured at another press conference that members of the LegCo who were found unable to comply with the requirements to serve in the LegCo could not be allowed to continue operating.
In mid-July, twelve opposition candidates, then scheduled for two months later, were disqualified after the local Electoral Commission found their candidacies invalid. On July 31, Lam announced the postponement of legislative elections, scheduled for September 6, for one year, due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opposition believes that Lam and the pro-Beijing government used the pandemic as an excuse for not holding the elections, as the pro-democracy forces hoped to win after the hard-won victory in the November 2019 district elections.
The massive resignation of all deputies from the pro-democracy camp will leave the LegCo with only members of the pro-Beijing faction, who already had a majority. They will now be able to pass laws without opposition.
Parliamentary elections are the most important in Hong Kong since the head of government is not elected by direct vote, one of the demands that the pro-democracy movement wants reversed so that they can elect their own leader.