In a statement issued by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Wednesday, China intensified pressure on the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement saying that the matter was an internal affair of China, and no country should intervene.
Four Hong Kong opposition lawmakers were disqualified with immediate effect after the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) passed a resolution allowing local authorities power to unseat politicians without having to go through the city’s courts.
Speaking at a press conference, Wang said: “I would like to stress that Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, and the qualification of HKSAR LegCo (Legislative Council) members is purely an internal affair of China. No other country has the right to make irresponsible remarks or intervene in the matter.”
Wang claimed that the decision to disqualify opposition lawmakers was a necessary step to uphold and improve the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, implement the Basic Law and the Hong Kong national security law, and maintain the rule of law and constitutional order.
“The relevant decision of the NPC Standing Committee targets no others but those LegCo members who do not meet the statutory requirements and conditions of “upholding the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” and “pledging allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”. Those who break the law must be held accountable, which is the basic principle of any law-based society,” he argued.
Following the dismissal of lawmakers, all Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators resigned together in the protest against China’s top legislative body’s resolution, Hong Kong Free Press reported.
“Hong Kong, from today onward, can no longer tell the world that there is ‘one country, two systems’,” said Democratic party lawmaker Wu Chi-wai.
The lawmakers unseated on Wednesday were the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki and Dennis Kwok, alongside Kenneth Leung of the Professionals Guild, who were previously barred from running in the now-postponed Legislative Council elections, originally slated for September.
This is the latest incident in China’s attempts to curb voices of dissent since the implementation of the draconian national security law in the erstwhile British colony, which saw massive pro-democracy protests last year.
The legislation, which came into effect on July 1, punishes what Beijing terms secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference with up to life in prison.