After Beijing forced the removal of four pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong, their colleagues all resigned. The dismissal has been seen as China’s latest attempt to restrict Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Beijing on Wednesday passed a resolution allowing the city’s government to dismiss politicians viewed as a threat to national security. Following the dismissal, the opposition lawmakers said they would, in solidarity, leave the city legislature. The BBC reports that this had been the first instance of no dissent in the body, since Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997.
The law has already led to the arrests of activists. Protestors have also, for the most part, been silenced.
Following the dismissal of the lawmakers, Hong Kong Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-Wai said, “We can no longer tell the world that we still have ‘one country, two systems’, this declares its official death.” Former British colony, Hong Kong, was returned to China under the UK-China Joint Declaration. This allowed it to retain greater rights and freedoms than the mainland until 2047. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the move by China was “a further assault on Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and freedoms…….”. He said China’s ‘campaign’ to “…..harass, stifle and disqualify democratic opposition tarnishes China’s international reputation and undermines Hong Kong’s long-term stability.” Meanwhile, Amnesty International has also condemned the move, saying it made a mockery of the rule of law.
According to the BBC, the new resolution states 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. Lawmakers can be directly removed, with no approaching of the courts, necessary.
The four lawmakers were dismissed just moments after the resolution was passed. Ironically, none of them had ever supported Hong Kong independence.
Umm Muhammed Umar