More than a dozen legislators in Hong Kong resigned together on Wednesday, 11th November 2020. The reason behind this was to protest a new law by China that allows for the removal of unpatriotic sitting legislators.
There was an announcement from fifteen of the lawmakers in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council that they will resign. This decision came after the removal of four of their colleagues in the Council under the new law by China. National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed this law. This committee is China’s top legislative body.
The resolution passed by China states that Hong Kong legislators will immediately lose their positions for infractions. The infractions include promoting independence and engaging in unpatriotic acts that are a threat to national security.
Four Legislators Were Unseated In Hongkong Following The New Law
Democratic Party Chairman Wu Chi-wai told reporters in a press conference that they are announcing that they will resign from their positions as their colleagues are being disqualified by the central government’s ruthless move.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam had immediately applied the new law to unseat pro-democracy legislators Dennis Kwok, Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok, and Kenneth Leung. The four legislators were also previously not allowed to run for re-election.
Wu told the media that the new law effectively eliminates the separation of powers under Hong Kong’s Basic Law. This law first came to being in 1997 after Britain gave up control of the city to Beijing.
The Basic Law preaches the concept of one country, two systems. Under this law, the city has rights including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly which is not available in mainland China.
Wu further told reporters that all the power with this new law will be centralized in the chief executive. the chief executive is basically a puppet of the central government. He added that today is the end of one country, two systems.
The mass resignation of the legislators left Hong Kong’s 70-seat Legislative Council with no opposition lawmakers.
The new law is the latest in a series of steps by China to intervene in Hong Kong affairs. This is after an eruption of a wave of pro-democracy protests last year. Beijing has imposed a wide-ranging national security law since the eruption of violence. The security law criminalizes any act of secession which means breaking away from the country, subversion which means undermining the power and authority of the central government, terrorism, and also collusion with external and foreign forces. It has also allowed the local government to delay local elections for a year.