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Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers resign

Date: 15 November 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Nearly all of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers have announced that they are resigning from the city’s legislature in protest against the forced removal of four of their colleagues.

 

Background

The resignation of the 15 remaining pro-democracy lawmakers has effectively removed political opposition from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, also known as the LegCo.

 

Details

  • The recent expulsions were carried out by a resolution that was passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s highest legislative body, which allows the city’s government to directly dismiss elected lawmakers without having to approach the courts.

  • According to the resolution, lawmakers should be disqualified if they support Hong Kong’s independence, fail to acknowledge China’s sovereignty, or encourage foreign forces to interfere in the city’s affairs.

  • The four legislators dismissed had already been barred from running in the upcoming election, which was earlier slated to take place in September but was eventually postponed to next year.

  • Experts believe that the recent resolution will make it very easy for the city’s government to suppress opposition lawmakers voicing their dissent against China’s increased control over Hong Kong.

  • The legislators have accused the government of destroying Hong Kong’s mini constitution known as the Basic Law, as well as the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework, which assured the city greater autonomy from the mainland till 2047.

  • China’s move was widely condemned by governments in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia. They have accused China of undermining democratic values.

 

Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) on the eastern Pearl River Delta of the South China Sea.

  • Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the Qing Empire ceded Hong Kong Island at the end of the First Opium War in 1842. 

  • The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The whole territory was transferred to China in 1997.

  • As a special administrative region, Hong Kong maintains separate governing and economic systems from that of mainland China under the principle of "one country, two systems".