In an unprecedented move that further erodes any semblance of democracy left in Hong Kong, China has blocked the appointment of two elected lawyers. The move has Hong Kong’s legal system scrambling for answers and leaves many in Hong Kong wondering if there are any issues Beijing won’t meddle in. The two lawyers are activists that have been heavily involved in the movement for greater autonomy from China. Since Xi Jinping took office in 2013, China has experienced a heavy crackdown on dissidents, media, and religious freedom. Although Hong Kong has remained somewhat removed from this, the recent abduction of Hong Kong booksellers and now the blocking of elected lawyers means that some freedoms in Hong Kong are in the balance. As Beijing pushes to bring Hong Kong further under its wing, Christians have already begun to feel the pressure of greater scrutiny from Beijing.
11/8/2016 China (Quartz) – After Beijing controversially stepped in to block two pro-independence lawmakers-elect from taking office in Hong Kong by offering its “interpretation” of the city’s own laws, Hong Kong lawyers are left wondering how to clean up the mess.
Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung, who represent the Youngspiration political party, were elected in legislative elections in September. Until now, the two haven’t been able to swear in to officially assume their posts as lawmakers. The first attempt was voided by the Legislative Council president after they displayed a “Hong Kong is not China” banner and mispronounced the word China to make it sound close to an old war-time insult instead of reading out the official oath.
The Hong Kong government first intervened through Hong Kong courts to stop the two from retaking their oaths a second time. While the court case is still pending in Hong Kong, yesterday Beijing’s highest legislative body, the National People’s Congress (NPC), intervened. It said that Yau and Leung would not be allowed to ever take their oaths again, not only because they broke the oath-taking rules as per Hong Kong’s own constitution the Basic Law, but because Hong Kong independence is a “cancer” that needs to be stamped out.